Heavy handed response ignores underlying funding issues – PPTA
The Minister of Education should be spending more energy addressing serious funding shortages in schools than publicly chastising principals, PPTA Secondary Principals Council chair Arthur Graves says.
Mr Graves’ concerns follow Education Minister Chris Carter’s public criticism of Whangarei Boys’ High headmaster Al Kirk for withdrawing students from class whose parents had not paid curriculum fees. It would be much more productive for the Ministry to examine why schools were having to go to such drastic measures to make ends meet, he said.
“While we certainly do not want to see students deprived of an education, we do see it as very heavy handed of the Minister to be so public in his flagellation of a principal and a board of trustees when we are placed in such an impossible funding position,” he said.
Thirty-six percent of schools funding comes from sources outside of Government operations grants and these were generally from local sources such as parents. Curriculum fees were needed to cover costs schools faced in providing materials for elective classes such as technology and home economics, he said.
“It is quite clear that schools have to try and maximise every bit of income they have, otherwise they can’t make ends meet”.
The situation at Whangarei Boys’ High highlighted the need for a serious rethink about the amount of money provided to secondary schools, he said. Mr Graves was also concerned about an invitation Mr Carter extended to parents to email him directly with reports of similar situations.
“If Mr Carter has taken it onto himself to be the person parents contact about school fee issues, we also hope he will be prepared to listen to parents who are sick of picking up the shortfall for the lack of resources provided to their schools,” he said.