22 May 2008
“Bitterly disappointing” budget ignores secondary staffing needs - PPTA
Today’s bitterly disappointing budget announcement was a blow to secondary teachers who had hoped against hope for staffing relief, PPTA president Robin Duff says.
While $33.5million in capital funding had been announced for an extra 762 teachers over the next four years, none of that will be going to secondary schools.
“We are pleased our primary colleagues are receiving staffing money, but we had hoped secondary schools would be given similar relief,” he said.
The 5% increase in operations grant funding was barely above inflation and would not even be enough to finance one extra teacher per classroom, he said.
Mr Duff was also concerned that there was no mention in the budget of financing the Government’s highly publicised and inevitably costly Schools Plus education initiative.
“The fact that there were no signals of funding for Schools Plus raises some serious concerns about where that money will come from.
“In the meantime schools will continue to struggle,” he said.
Mr Duff did however praise Dr Cullen’s practical approach to tax cuts.
“The danger is always that the bigger the tax cuts the less money there is available for health, education and welfare. We are at least appreciative of Dr Cullen’s ability to keep his sights on the bigger outcome,” he said.
Mr Duff also had a piece of advice for the Ministry of Education.
“Perhaps the can-do attitude the Government expects of schools in terms of managing their money could be used by the Ministry when it comes to where its funds go”.
Despite the budget blow, the PPTA has no intention of going quietly into the night.
“We will continue to present our vision for education to all political parties, and it is hoped they will signal an intention provide more permanent improvements in staffing numbers and class sizes before 2010,” he said.