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NZPTA Seeks Higher Operations Grants

We, the New Zealand Parent Teacher Association, certainly agree with Chris France, President of the New Zealand School Trustees Association, in that we are most disappointed with the small increase in the Operations Grant for schools.

Because the schools are not getting what they need to run the schools so that all the new programmes can be put in place, it falls on the community, and most especially the Parent Teacher Association – or Home and School – or Support Group – or Friends of the School – to find the shortfall money somewhere.

Already these groups put in about $35 – 40 MILLION over the course of a year. Once upon a time, in fairy tale land, the money raised by the PTA was for extras. Nowadays, it is used for essentials – such as curriculum materials or shoring up shortfall art supplies in the classrooms.

There is so much more a PTA can do other than just fundraising. They can support the Board of Trustees in organizing parent education evenings or bringing changes in education to the notice of the parents (the ‘Schooling Strategy Discussion paper, Secondary Futures discussions), informing parents about other education sectors such as making them aware of what the ERO (Education Review Office) is and what they are looking for when they visit the school, being aware of programmes available such as the DARE programmes, helping in the classrooms, making equipment – and many other tasks.

We hear often of Boards of Trustees asking their PTAs for amounts of up to $30,000 for, say, shade cloth. OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) demand schools to conform to various Health and Safety procedures, but these are not allowed for in the operations grant. They are essential but not provided for. It is up to the PTA/Parent Group to do this.

The PTA/Parent Groups already have a difficult time to get people to give of their time voluntarily as so many families are 2-income and there is not the parents at home during the day to share the ever-increasing load.

No wonder the New Zealand School Trustees Association is somewhat aggrieved at the small amount of increase – 0.2% once inflation is taken into account.

We join with them in asking for a fairer amount of Operations Grant.

One cannot have a first class education system without first class money.

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