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Budget gets cautious thumbs up from school trustee

The New Zealand School Trustees Association has given the budget a cautious thumbs up, saying that overall school boards will be reasonably happy with it.

“However, we have to say there are still a few disappointments,” says NZSTA President Owen Edgerton.

He says the majority of schools will welcome the 7.4% increase in their operations grants but it is a concern that those that are currently bulk funded still don’t know what they will be entitled to next year.

“These boards are living with uncertainty at the moment and they should know what formula will apply to their funding as soon as possible.”

Owen Edgerton says all boards, however, will be very happy with the Government’s commitment to annually increase operation grants in line with inflation.

“We are particularly pleased to note that the additional money boards will receive is not tagged. Boards will have maximum discretion on whether they choose to use the extra money on extra staff, specialist resources, to reward staff for additional duties or for recruitment and retention of staff.”

He says boards will welcome additional money for property and the certainty which will come from being able to develop their own five-year agreements for capital works and maintenance.

Government strategies on Maori education and more Maori and Pacific Island teachers have both been supported by additional resources which is good news for boards. They will also welcome new initiatives to deal with literacy.

He says there are provisions for training new boards of trustees after the next election, but not enough resources given to the ongoing additional training that some boards need.

“We are also disappointed that there is no government funding for NZSTA support services to boards to provide a fence at the top of the cliff for struggling boards. This service is desperately needed.”

He acknowledges the recognition by the government of the importance of training principals and aspiring principals, through the allocation of a small amount of money to develop management training.

“Boards and principals are keen to see the training in place as soon as possible.”

[Ends]

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