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NZEI Says Support Staff Funding System Must Change

NZEI Says Support Staff Funding System Must Change

NZEI Te Riu Roa says there is overwhelming evidence that backs up the union’s call to look at changing the way support staff in schools are funded.

NZEI Te Riu Roa has more than 9000 support staff members who work in non teaching roles in primary and secondary schools. They work as teacher aides, secretaries, executive officers, science and IT technicians, therapists, librarians, sports co-ordinators, and as kaiarahi i te reo, who are fluent Maori speakers.

“It is very disappointing that the New Zealand School Trustees Association doesn’t recognise the need to change the way support staff in schools are funded,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr.

“The association has attacked the work the union is doing to find a better way of funding support staff as a backward step. The facts of the situation show that the association is wrong.”

NZEI Te Riu Roa estimates that support staff in schools could be underpaid by as much as $6 million because they are not being paid what they are entitled to under their collective employment agreement.

“This is due primarily to the fact that their salaries come from operational grants, which is money provided by the Government to cover the costs of running a school.”

“This means support staff are paid from the same money used to buy equipment, maintain classrooms and pay the school power bill. Most schools struggle to spread their ops grant across all their costs putting constant pressure on boards and principals to find the money to pay their support staff.”

“NZEI has recognised this problem and is working to develop a funding system that would provide schools with money specifically to employ support staff so that they can be paid what they are legally entitled to receive.”

“STA says this would not help support staff and believes the solution is to simply increase the size of the operational grants.”

“NZEI’s comprehensive research project shows the association is alone in thinking this would solve the problem. A union survey of schools shows an overwhelming majority believe the current support staff funding system is not working and needs to be changed.”

“We have offered the association a full briefing on this research and it’s disappointing it has chosen to comment before it has read and considered the information the union has gathered,” says Colin Tarr.

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