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School funding numbers don’t add up – NZSTA

26 August 2004

School funding numbers don’t add up – NZSTA

Acting Education Minister Steve Maharey’s claim of increased Government funding for schools ignores the fact that school communities are footing a growing share of the bill, say the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

NZSTA President Chris France says the fact is that Government funding has been proportionately decreasing, forcing school communities to make up the shortfall.

“Over a three year period, funding contributed by school communities increased by 23% to $429 million in 2002. At the same time, the proportion of Government funding dwindled from 89% of total school revenue in 1999 to 86% in 2002.

“Under the Labour Government, local funding is having to be relied upon more than ever. The so-called ‘free’ state education system is becoming costlier, making schools increasingly reliant on fundraising.”

Chris France says Mr Maharey’s claims of a “real terms” increase of 10 % in operation grants funding does not reflect the realities schools are facing today.

“More and more funding is having to come from school communities at a time when schools are already facing additional pressure, such as the complexity of social, justice and health issues that fall at their door.”

He says it is misleading for Mr Maharey to claim that ‘in-kind’ support for things such as free software licences is equivalent to an extra 34 % in operational funding.

“In-kind funding is useful, but because it is rigidly prescribed, it does not allow schools to use that portion of funding to target areas where it is needed most.

“Clearly, funding is not sufficient and schools are having to make cut-backs in crucial areas, and including support staff hours. This is because operation grants are not meeting the needs of today’s schools to the detriment of the quality of education for New Zealand children,” he says.

ENDS


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