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Trustees disappointed in govt. funding response

Media Release

Trustees disappointed in government funding response

School trustees and parents across the country will be disappointed in the lack of government response to their concerns about the inadequacies of schools operational funding, says the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

NZSTA President Chris Haines says that despite the wealth of evidence and the widespread expression of concern regarding under-funding, the government’s response in the budget is to provide a total inadequate increase of 2.4% in schools operational funding.

He says the government response barely matches the CPI inflation index which Statistics New Zealand, Reserve Bank and Treasury estimate will be 2.8% for the next 2 years and 2.7% in 2007.

“Even allowing for the $2.4 million increase in 2005/06 for small schools in compensation of the cost of funding teacher aides announced earlier this year, and the $27 million additional funding already announced from the deciles review the overall increase only totals a little over 5.5%.”

Chris Haines says this is a disappointing result given that several pieces of research including independent research by NZCER has clearly established that many boards cannot maintain current programmes on existing levels of operational grant funding which could have consequential effects on student learning.

“While boards will receive an additional $22 million per year as an annual adjustment to schools operational funding over the next four years, this increase is unlikely to meet the rising costs experienced by boards of trustees in the running of their school, let alone make up for a significant shortfall that has been occurring over the past three to four years.

“While every little bit helps, I know boards of trustees will be disappointed that the government has chosen to ignore the clear evidence of operational grant funding inadequacies in a year of record government surpluses.”

Chris Haines says to add insult to injury, the Association notes that the Education Review Office is to receive $248,000 in 2005/06 and $569,000 in 2006/07 for the “Evaluation of schools usage of operational funding”.

“In short then, not only has the current inadequacy of operational grant funding been largely ignored, but boards of trustees can expect a further layer of bureaucracy and compliance with ERO checking on how they use their inadequate operational grant funding.

“It continues to be our wish that Government recognise and address the inadequacy issue through meeting a series of shortfalls in operational grant funding experienced by boards of trustees. This would then be followed by a sector wide review, involving all stakeholders, of the adequacy of the formulation of the operations grant itself,” says Chris Haines.

Ends

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