12 February 2014
Charter schools funded for more staff than state schools
NZEI Te Riu Roa is questioning why it appears the government is funding more staff positions at a south Auckland primary charter school compared to a similar sized state school.
National President Judith Nowotarski says this raises serious questions about the government’s claims that charter schools would be funded at the same level as a public school equivalent.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that this is not true. For instance, the Rise Up charter school in South Auckland will cost New Zealand taxpayers $9,688 per student this year while the cost of a student at an average state Year 1-6 primary school is less than $6000. That’s a difference of more than $3,500 per student.”
With a roll of 50 students, Rise Up’s contract shows that it receives funding for three full time teaching positions and one full teacher aide position. A similar sized state school, depending on the number of children at different year levels, could end up with less than three full time teachers and would have to use its operational funding to fund any teacher aides.
“NZEI has been calling for the government to centrally fund teacher aide and other support staff positions for many years so that all children get the right support for their learning.
“Currently schools have to make tough choices between things like new technology, sports equipment and employing teacher aides.
“What’s more, charter schools are not even obliged to use the funding they receive to pay qualified teachers. For instance, they are allowed to use that extra funding to buy land or make a profit. Ultimately that threatens the quality of education students will receive at charter schools.”