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Schools urged to speak out about underfunding

Schools urged to speak out about underfunding

The New Zealand School Trustees Association has launched a nationwide campaign to encourage schools to speak out about inadequate operational grant funding.

President Chris Haines says government funding is just not enough for boards to achieve what they need to do for their students.

“School communities themselves raise around half a billion dollars each year. This money used to provide the nice-to-have extras, but now it is for essentials.

“Fundraising should not be a substitute for inadequate government funding and we are asking boards to speak out for their school.”

As part of the campaign, NZSTA is encouraging all boards of trustees to write to the Minister of Education and MP’s outlining their concerns about the inadequacy of their operations grant.

“We have been telling the government for some time that the current funding is not enough – and now it is time to make the message louder.

“Operation grant funding is not at a sufficient level for boards to effectively govern their schools and there must be an increase.

“This campaign is intended to send a message to government that schools are hurting and the lack of operational grant funding is affecting the education of our children.”

NZSTA commissioned NZCER to carry out a study into school finances. Key findings of the study of 18 successful schools showed that “most of these effective schools could not maintain their programmes without non-government funding.”

“This research confirms the long-held view of NZSTA and many member boards that schools are increasingly relying on locally raised funds to provide the basics that should be funded by the government.”

Chris Haines says improving educational outcomes for all students is the dominant focus for the government, boards of trustees and education professionals.

“But boards need adequate funding to ensure this happens, and particularly so given that a significant proportion of the operations grant funding supports ancillary assistance to teachers and the employment of additional teaching staff.”

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