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Government on notice

12 January 2005

Government on notice over inadequate school funding -- NZSTA

As schools prepare for the new year, the New Zealand Schools Trustees Association is reminding the Government that an increase to operations grants is still at the top of its wish list.

NZSTA President Chris Haines says boards of trustees and independent research undertaken by NZCER has made it very clear that the current level of funding for the operations grants is inadequate. Boards expect the inadequacy to be addressed in this year’s budget.

“Schools are becoming increasingly reliant on raising extra funding from other sources to provide their students with the education they deserve. With record government surpluses reported, schools have a high expectation of a significant increase this year.”

Chris Haines says estimates show that nationally, community raised funds for schools will top half a billion dollars in 2005. This compares to the Government’s current contribution to operational grant funding of $900 million.

“The issue boards and schools face is that they cannot continue to provide students with their current standard of “free” education by relying on government funding alone. We are not talking about schools using the additional locally raised funding to buy extras, they are increasingly reliant on it to simply provide the basics.”

He says parents in particular are having to dig deeper into their pockets each year to not only support their children’s schools with the “nice to have” extras, but increasingly to fund base programmes, which are Government’s responsibility.

Chris Haines says parents will be asked by their local schools again this year to carry a significant share of the cost of making up the shortfall of Government funding. However there is a strong expectation that the Government will remedy this situation in the 2005 budget announcement.

“It is unacceptable that the standard of education delivered in a school should become increasingly dependent on the funds each school is able to raise from non –government sources. Trustees and parents will be expecting the Government “to step up to the plate” on this underfunding issue in what is an election year,” he says.

ENDS

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