Girls’ school moves to bankrupt dad over fees

An elite girls' school has moved to bankrupt the father of a former student over nearly $20,000 in allegedly unpaid fees.

The Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane, trading as The Glennie School (Glennie), in Toowoomba, filed a creditor's petition against parent Peter Ryan on Wednesday in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane.

Mr Ryan is a real estate agent with Raine and Horne in Toowoomba and owes the school $18,871, court documents state.

Mr Ryan was served with a bankruptcy notice on December 19, and failed to pay by January 10, the creditor's petition says.

He is yet to file a defence.

The school's director of Finance Jason Hockaday swore the debt was owed, court documents state.

The petition was filed by Surfers Paradise-based Cronin Litigation Lawyers, on behalf of the private Anglican-church run school which offers day and boarding from kindergarten to year 12.

The school is controlled by the Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane (the corporation). Both are exempt from income tax and both are a charity.

The Corporation states in its annual report that it had total revenue of $214 million last year and its ambition "is to create a more loving, just and inclusive society, reflecting the life and teachings of Christ".

The move comes less than a week after a private Catholic school launched a bid in the same court to bankrupt the parents of a former student over overdue fees.
The trustee of Edmund Rice Education Australia, trading as St Patricks College Shorncliffe, asked the court if it could serve bankruptcy documents seeking $24,225.35 on the parents from Caloundra by post.

St Patrick's later backpedalled, claiming the bankruptcy notice was an attempt to "gain permission to engage with the party which has so far refused to discuss the matter with the school".

In the Glennie school case, under the court rules, the school must serve Mr Ryan with the creditor's petition at least five business days before the hearing, which is set for July 24.

Glennie is also registered charity which claims to help disabled, indigenous and young people, as well as families, and people living in rural and remote areas, according to the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (Charities Commission).

In 2017 it reported to the Charities Commission that it received $8.1m in government funding and $11.7m in fees from providing educational goods and services.

Tuition fees covered 39 per cent of school income, with state and federal government funding covering another 39 per cent, according to the school's 2018 annual report.

Last year they had 773 students enrolled and they charge fees of $14,440 per year for day students in years 10 to 12, and $35,300 for boarders.

The case is due in court on July 24.

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