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Principals Face Tight School Budgets

Education Minister Trevor Mallard's induction programmes for first-time school principals better include advice on how to run a school on the smell of any oily rag, National's Education spokesman Gerry Brownlee said today.

"Last week's budget delivered a real cut in operational funding for schools.

"Labour's spin about a 1.6 percent increase to school operations funding for next year is all smoke with no mirrors. With inflation running at 3.1 percent and a low kiwi dollar, the 1.6 percent increase is totally inadequate.

"People voted for Labour because they believed Trevor Mallard when he promised he would 'instigate an annual inflation adjustment of operations grant funding using 'new' funding'. Mr Mallard said the absence of such an adjustment 'makes it particularly difficult for schools to plan ahead'.

"From 1996, schools experienced rapid real growth in the level of operations funding. Mr Mallard's increase doesn't even allow schools to keep their heads above the water, let alone give them room to plan.

"Like everyone else in New Zealand, schools, particularly libraries, have been hit by higher costs due to the falling kiwi dollar. Last week's Budget will mean more cake stalls, raffles and school fairs.

"The real cut to schools' operational funding is the worst kind of broken promise. This Government isn't helping principals or teachers, rather it is hindering them," Mr Brownlee said.


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