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Benson-Pope struggling already

Benson-Pope struggling already

National Education spokesman Bill English says new Education Minister David Benson-Pope will need to study up on his facts better than he has so far.

Mr Benson-Pope claims parents’ share of the cost of state education ‘had changed only marginally in recent times’.

Mr English says the minister has his head in his sand if he thinks parents will believe that for a moment. The Ministry of Education’s own report, ‘New Zealand Schools’, says:

Primary schools rely on local funds for 10.3% of their revenue, up from 8.5% in 2000.

Secondary schools now rely on local funds for 15.7% of their revenue, up from 14% in 2000.

Overall, in 2003, local funds accounted for 12.4% of school revenue, up from 10.6% in 2000.

“In Labour’s first four years in office there was a staggering 97% increase in school donations. The amount of funds received from parents and fundraising in the community is $453 per pupil per year.

“Mr Benson-Pope’s own ministry’s figures show parents are contributing record amounts of money to the running of schools. This year, locally raised funds are expected to total $500 million.

“His claims that growing costs are derived from uniforms and school trips are nonsense. Parents are fundraising for basic requirements and even for teachers’ salaries,” says Mr English.

“This is not a good start in a new job by this minister. He is clearly not doing his homework.

“He and Labour need to get off their moral high-horse and acknowledge the huge financial contribution parents make to the day-to-day needs of state schools and give them more say in how they are run”.

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