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'Lose-Lose' Funding For Special Education Attacked

Green Party Education spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said that a hearing expected to begin today in the Auckland High Court highlights distortions in the funding for special education needs.

A group of parents of children with special education needs have mounted a legal challenge to the Government.

"One of the Green Party's major concerns with special needs funding is that the Special Education Grant is bulk funded to each school, irrespective of how many children with special needs are actually enrolled," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"Under this policy a school with say 30 children with moderate special needs receives the same funding as a school with just three such students."

Mr Ewen-Street said under this system there was an incentive for the school with three students to keep special needs kids at bay because it can spend the money on other things. The school with 30 kids also had a disincentive to take more special needs children, because their funding can't support even the children they already have.

"It is a lose-lose situation for parents, teachers and the children themselves," he said.

"I have asked Parliamentary Questions to the Minister of Education about why the Government continues to follow such an unfair and distortionary funding system, and so far he has not been able to give me a good answer.

"I am sure a method of allocating the Special Education Grant can be found which is much fairer for parents and children, and I urge the Government to move quickly in this direction."


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