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English offers to mow the lawns

Hon Bill English - National Education Spokesman

29 October 2004

English offers to mow the lawns

National's Education spokesman Bill English has offered to mow the lawns at Parliament if the Education Minister gets serious about education and reducing the financial burden on parents.

This follows Hamilton's Fraser High School giving parents the option of performing maintenance tasks - such as lawn mowing - at the school if they can't afford to pay school fees in their entirety.

The Education Minister today announced an extra $5.3 million pool available to schools through a contestable fund.

"This new funding is all dressed up as a new initiative, but in reality it's just one more small contestable pool and another load of paperwork for parents and principals who are already bogged down trying to raise enough money to keep their schools going," he says.

Before today's announcement there were 36 contestable pools that schools could apply to for additional funding.

"Every school is given the impression that they will get something from at least one of these pools but only a handful ever do," says Mr English.

"This new funding is nothing when Trevor Mallard has increased his own Ministry's operating budget by 44% in four years, and when the NZQA's has tripled in that time and ERO's has increased by 26%.

"This is just one more example of Labour spending millions on their own pet projects, leaving parents to mow school lawns and sell raffle tickets to pay teachers' salaries, despite record government surpluses.

"This is further evidence of an Education Minister who has no idea of what's really going on in schools," says Mr English.


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