More costs imposed on schools
More costs imposed on schools, says trustees organisation
It is very disappointing that the Government continues to impose costs on boards of trustees at a time when schools are already struggling to make ends meet, says NZSTA President Lorraine Kerr.
She says the extent of the problem has been made clear by the operations funding review report released on Tuesday by the Minister of Education.
Lorraine Kerr says the recent proposed settlement of the support staff collective agreement imposes unwelcome additional costs on schools.
She says the settlement not only contains a three percent adjustment in wages, but also additional leave entitlements of three days from 2008 and an additional two days from 2010. These changes to leave entitlement will, over this time, add an additional 2% to the 3% wage cost.
In addition, schools will have to meet the cost of incremental progression, which is likely to be around 1 to 4%.
“It is this type of adjustment, which goes beyond the current capacity of boards to pay, that has led to the recent operations grant review,” says Lorraine Kerr. “There will be a clear expectation that boards' operational grants will be adjusted by the government to reflect the full impact of these imposed costs.
“Member boards are already struggling under the present inadequacy of operational grant funding. Additional costs simply make things worse.”
Lorraine Kerr says one example of rising costs is a recently-announced maths professional development initiative, for which boards are expected to pick up 50% of the costs.
Boards will be expecting that the 2007 budget will provide for full funding of such imposed costs. In this regard NZSTA intends to hold the Minister of Education, Steve Maharey to comments he made on the Checkpoint programme last night.
The Minister said: “We’re seeing that this pressure, which led to the review of the operations grant in the first place, is showing up and we’re seeing more schools finding it difficult. Now that’s why, as I say, going forward, we have to have a look at this budget to see if we can find ways of easing those pressure points.”
Lorraine Kerr says NZSTA also expects that the continuing work in 2007 on the operations grant review will ensure that any future imposed costs will be automatically funded through an agreed annual adjustment mechanism.