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NZEI: School House Essential For Rural Schools

NZEI: School House Essential For Rural Schools

NZEI Te Riu Roa says it is essential school houses are retained at rural schools because they are vital in attracting teachers and principals to work in country areas. The Ministry of Education has released a new school housing policy in which it proposes selling 40% of its school houses (a total of 885 houses) which it considers "non core." It also proposes increasing the rent on the houses it retains to a maximum of 80% of the market rent.

"Primary principals and teachers have made it clear that school houses must be retained at rural schools," says NZEI Te Riu Roa, National President Bruce Adin.

"We have received more than 400 faxes from principals and teachers working at rural schools who live in school houses. 84% of the principals and 70% of the teachers who responded to the survey say they would not have accepted their current job if there had been no school house."

"These figures make it clear that school houses are essential for attracting principals and teachers to work at rural primary schools."

"Affordable and available school houses are a vital tool for recruiting and retaining staff in remote and rural areas."

"The message from primary principals and teachers living in school houses to the Ministry of Education is clear, do not sell them,"

"They are also alarmed at the Ministry's proposal to increase school house rentals. The rents now are reasonable but that is off set by the travelling costs that are incurred living in remote areas and the fact that the houses are in country areas where there is little or no alternative accommodation."

"The cheap rentals also attract newly qualified teachers to remote schools that can be hard to staff. The rents enable these new teachers to pay off their student loans."

NZEI Te Riu Roa is asking the Ministry of Education to publish which houses it plans to retain and which it plans to sell. Schools with houses marked for sale should be allowed to make a case to retain them.

"NZEI Te Riu Roa is also asking the Ministry to adopt a 'case by case' approach to determining market rentals for school houses," says Bruce Adin.

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