School donation ruling exposes the need for greater funding
NZEI Te Riu Roa supports the Ombudsman’s ruling that a public education must be free.
President Judith Nowotarski said the law was clear that absolutely no school payments were compulsory, apart from attendance dues at state integrated schools and voluntary purchases of goods and services such as stationery or canteen items.
“Primary and secondary public education in this country is free. Schools can ask for donations but they must be absolutely clear that there is no compulsion to pay, and students may not be excluded from any activity because of non-payment,” she said.
“Schools are under massive budgetary pressure to deliver a 21st century education on inadequate government funding. The government must ensure proper funding so that schools aren’t forced to try to shift any of the cost of tuition or materials onto families.”
“It’s an extremely difficult position for schools to be in – we expect things like class trips and modern ICT, but schools simply can’t do it without putting their hand out to parents.
“The decile funding system is not the problem – whether they are decile 1 or decile 10, all schools struggle to make ends meet. The issue is that government funding is inadequate across the board. We don’t need to wait for a long, drawn-out review of the funding system to tell us the obvious. Schools need more money right now and we call on the government to significantly increase school funding.”
The latest available figures show that in 2010 New Zealand's per student expenditure in primary and secondary schools was below the OECD mean across 31 countries.