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Boost in ops funding welcomed

Boost in ops funding welcomed, but schools not in clover yet

Boards of trustees and principals will welcome the 5% increase to operational funding equating to $171.6m over the next four years, New Zealand School Trustees Association President Lorraine Kerr says.

The increase, announced by Education Minister Chris Carter today, coupled with the small increase of approximately 1.4% over the cost of inflation provided in the 2007 budget will make a difference for many schools. But Lorraine Kerr says schools are still facing a shortfall over ICT funding.

“The evidence has been clear for some years now that schools have been under increasing financial pressure in respect of operational grant funding, and an additional $49 million a full year will certainly help to address the shortfall.

“While the $171.6 million over 4 years is great, and contains $65.3 million attributable to ICT costs, there is still a significant gap yet to be closed, and particularly in respect of ICT costs.”

Lorraine Kerr says that even with an average additional $16 million a year towards ICT costs, boards of trustees will still be paying for the lion’s share of ICT costs of approx $240 million a year, across all schools. This will come from operational funding and locally raised funds.

She is also calling on the Government to ensure the full effect of the $49 million a year new money is realised. This will only be achieved if schools continue to be reimbursed each budget for cost price (inflation) increases experienced each year.

It is pleasing to see the government has responded in a positive way to the significant work NZSTA and other stakeholders have put in over the past 4 years since NZSTA first began campaigning for a significant increase in operational grant funding, says Lorraine Kerr.

ENDS

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