24 May 2012
Budget “King Hit” On State Secondary Schools
The 2012 Budget has delivered a king hit on state secondary schools, parents, teachers and students, PPTA president Robin Duff says.
On top of the frontline teacher staffing cuts already signalled by education minister Hekia Parata, schools will have to make do with a derisively small operations grant increase, that does not even cover inflation, he said.
3000 more places in the government’s Youth Guarantee scheme over the next four years will further rip staffing from the most vulnerable secondary schools as senior students leave for polytechnics, wananga and private training establishments, taking their funding with them.
Specialist technology staffing was being stripped from Year 7 and 8 students, while the government put money into the Youth Guarantee ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, he said.
“It is the low decile schools – the very ones Parata has promised to support - that will suffer the most and there is a very real danger some will become non-viable,” he said.
A large amount of the education budget has also been pledged to private interests, leaving Duff questioning the minister’s commitment to the state schooling sector at all.
“While our most vulnerable schools bear the brunt of the cuts, the government has pledged a further $1.5 million - on top of the $1.5 million it has previously paid out - to prop up Wanganui Collegiate, a failed private school,” he said.
“There are staff cuts for state schools, more scholarships for private schools and the Ministry of Education will have $15 million of its strategic leadership fund farmed out to private consultants.”
In this context the $1billion from state asset sales ringfenced for school buildings was a sick joke – particularly since some of that money would be going into a review of how government invests in school infrastructure, Duff said.
“Using school buildings as an excuse for state asset sales, when the likely outcome is further privatising of school property, is insulting. The minister of education needs to seriously reassess her stance on public education,” he said.