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Income levels in Manukau schools set to rise

24 January, 2005

Income levels in Manukau schools set to rise, but ‘black economy’ still unclear.

While income levels in Manukau schools are set to rise in 2005 to a total of $90 million dollars, operational funding increases from government are based on weak evidence about local needs and the effectiveness of funding, according to a report released today by the City of Manukau Education Trust (COMET).

The report analyses changes to school income and decile categories recently announced by government, and highlights the impact that other funding streams may have on school budgets.

“There is very little hard data publicly available about the total sources of income for state schools in our city,” says COMET Chief Executive Bernardine Vester, “and schools of different deciles have very different funding needs. Schools also have very little comparative evidence available about how they can wisely invest in effective educational programmes. “

COMET chairperson Stuart Middleton describes schools as having two income sources: contributions through taxes, and contributions from the community. “The ability of low-decile schools to source funds from the community is vastly different to the ability of high-decile schools,” he says. “There is a ‘black economy’ in education – the income from non-government sources - which deserves analysis”.

Bernardine Vester says that educational achievement has to be the number one goal for schools in the city. Community advocacy for funding increases in the city depends on having quality information about school income and programme effectiveness. The report also notes the marked divide in decile distribution of schools in Manukau City, and the consequent impact on resource levels.

Government funding level increases in Manukau City appear to be below the national average, says Ms Vester. “There is a clear need for educational investment in Manukau, but where to place that investment is not so clear.”


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