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School funding increases

Per pupil funding rates to schools will rise next year by 2.2 per cent.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said the rise brought the increase in operational funding to schools between 1999 and 2003, to around $175 million or 25 per cent.

“School property is also provided for in Budget 2002 with $292 million committed to funding more than 268 new classrooms, purchasing or extending 12 new school sites, expanding the five year property (modernisation) programme to a further 400 schools and building six new schools and kura.

“The government will also be encouraging innovation in school design by sponsoring a ‘school property for the future’ scheme whereby schools submit applications for the funding of alternative school property design projects.

“We are committing $72 million over the next four years to continue implementation of the recommendations contained in the primary school staffing review. This will involve taking on another 365 primary teachers next year, bringing to 875 the total increase in teachers since 1999.

“An increase of a similar order is likely in the secondary teaching service but this cannot be officially confirmed until the contract agreement reached last week with the PPTA is ratified.

“The budget allocates more than $4.5 million over the next four years for initiatives to encourage more secondary teachers. The bulk of this will be used for training allowances for students with degrees in hard to staff subjects and financial support for primary school teachers with appropriate qualifications to train to move into secondary teaching.

“The budget shows our ongoing commitment to resourcing schools for both their operational and staffing needs. This is an important aspect of maintaining and enhancing the quality and excellence in our schools,” Trevor Mallard said.

Ends

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