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Concern about schools money problems increasing

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Concern about schools money problems increasing, says NZSTA

The school sector is upping the ante in its fight to show that boards of trustees can’t make ends meet on Government funding alone.

NZSTA President Chris Haines says serious concerns have prompted principals’ associations and other organisations to support NZSTA’s campaign over operations grant funding levels.

Other sector groups have organised petitions and public meetings to further highlight the funding inadequacies.

“These initiatives clearly show the widespread and growing concern that exists over the current inadequacy of school operations grants. The evidence is clear – there needs to be a substantial funding increase in boards’ operations grant from Government."

Chris Haines says NZSTA has been telling the Government for some time that schools are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet with current levels of operational funding. The concerns were backed up by the NZCER independent research report, funded by NZSTA, in September 2004.

The research shows clearly that schools are reliant on locally raised funds to deliver quality education, he says.

“The NZCER research, since confirmed by education sector groups research shows that current Government under-funding is a real issue. The quality of education would be adversely affected if it wasn’t for schools being supported financially by locally raised funds in order to keep essential programmes going.

“Frustration levels are rising, for board members, school staff and parents. Government is said to be sitting on yet another record surplus of taxpayer money unspent, when clearly investment in education is important for the future of New Zealand. This needs to include boards having sufficient operational grant money to run their schools effectively."

Chris Haines says the Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope continues to avoid the very real issues created by current inadequate operational grant funding.

"The Minister must now be aware of the very real funding issues out there for school boards. Boards of trustees will not be silenced by Government continually making reference to the number of additional teachers that have been added to the system when the core issue for boards remains adequate funding for the day to day running of schools.

“And boards won’t be swayed by the Government’s continual reference to the locally raised funds remaining consistent at 6% of total school expenditure. The real point of reference is the increasing proportion of locally raised funds in relation to operational grant funding.”

Chris Haines says the clear answer to the issue is for the Government to commit to a substantial increase to the school operational grant funding in the 2005 Budget.

Note: NZSTA President Chris Haines will be a speaker at a public meeting, hosted by Quality Public Education Coalition and chaired by Sir Paul Reeves, to discuss the inadequacies of school operational grant funding.

The meeting is being held in the music auditorium at Auckland College of Education (now part of Auckland University, Epsom Ave, Auckland, Tuesday March 15, 7.30pm to 9.30pm. The Federation of Parent Teachers’ Association and principals of a number of secondary and primary schools will also be attending. Media are welcome.


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