Awatere Huata Campaign To Keep Bulk Funding
Thursday 10th Feb 2000
Donna Awatere Huata
Media Release -- Education
ACT Education spokesperson Donna Awatere Huata today began a campaign to retain bulk funding.
Mrs Awatere Huata launched her campaign by writing to every school in New Zealand to enlist their help to fight the Minister's decision to abolish bulk funding.
"I do not intend to sit by wringing my hands at the intention to return to centralised negotiations and funding. I want to listen to and talk to parents and school leaders whose freedom to manage their school is being undermined by authoritarian directives," Mrs Awatere Huata said.
"The argument that bulk funding will lead to funding levels being driven downwards is specious. I cannot conceive of a government that would be stupid enough to lower funding levels to schools, bulk funded or not. This Government has the power to drive up the levels of funding in schools if it so chose."
Mrs Awatere Huata said the principle at stake is the freedom the school community has over how it uses its funds.
"There is only one real issue and it is the freedom local communities have to run their school in the best possible way for their children. Make no mistake about it. At the heart of centralised funding is a fundamental issue over who will run schools - unions and government bureaucrats in Wellington or parents' representatives.
"If we are to close the gap between Maori or Pacific children and the general population, we need the freedom as well as the accountability that local control offers.
"Abolishing bulk funding will be a huge backward step for the near 40% of teachers and students that are currently in bulk funded schools.
"Communities that have chosen bulk funding have encouraged innovation, initiative and diversity in the way school leaders have catered for children's needs.
"The only people who will benefit from the axing of bulk funding will be unions and Wellington officials who need to justify their existence and their salaries," Mrs Awatere Huata said.