Budget must deliver big increase in ops funding
Budget must deliver big increase in ops funding – NZSTA
Boards of trustees and principals have a high expectation that inadequate levels of operational funding will finally be tackled in Thursday’s budget, the New Zealand School Trustees Association says.
President Lorraine Kerr says there is “overwhelming evidence” that school operational grants are being under-funded and it is expected that the Government will take heed and deliver the required relief in this year’s budget.
“It is long overdue for the Government to address the concerns boards of trustees and principals have been expressing for years now. Schools simply cannot continue under the pressure of inadequate funding.”
Lorraine Kerr says the method of delivery of any new operational funding resourcing is also an important issue for boards of trustees.
“Schools need to be able to address the individual needs of students, and to achieve this, boards must have the ability to target resources to suit the particular needs of their individual schools.
“It is essential that any additional resourcing announced in Thursday’s budget is delivered in a way that preserves maximum flexibility for boards,” she says.
For the last four to five years, the New Zealand School Trustees Association has spearheaded a campaign for a substantial increase in schools operational funding.
NZSTA funded an independent three year research project, which showed many of the 18 representative schools in the project could not maintain core programmes on operational funding alone. The work, conducted by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, culminated in a decision by the Government in 2005 to undertake a review of schools operational funding.
Ms Kerr says that NZSTA, in conjunction with the other sector groups, has spent 2006 and 2007 working with the Ministry of Education identifying and analysing the specific cost pressures that boards of trustees/schools have been experiencing over some years now.
“And it has become clear that costs associated with ICT, arising from growth in support staff numbers and in meeting compliance requirements are major contributors to the operations funding shortfall that boards are experiencing”.
Boards of trustees are accountable to the Government and their school community for raising student achievement in their school. In addition new policies such as Schools Plus will also impact on schools, and school governance.
At a time where there is a real focus on boards/schools improving outcomes for all students, it becomes even more essential that boards/schools are adequately funded to enable them to do the job expected of them, Lorraine Kerr says.