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Minster must acknowledge parents' budget woes

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

26 January 2005

Minster must acknowledge parents' budget woes

National Education spokesman Bill English says he hopes the Minister of Education takes note of the concerns of the Federation of Family Budgeting Service when he sets schools budgets this year.

The service has expressed concern at the added financial pressures faced by parents at the start of the school year.

Mr English says David Benson-Pope has got off to a lousy start as Education Minister by dismissing a survey of parents as well as his own Ministry's figures relating to the contributions parents make to schools.

In 2003, parents raised $500 million for schools.

Between 1999 and 2003 there was a massive 97% increase in school donations nationwide. The amount of funds received from parents and fundraising in the community stands at $453 per pupil per year. These costs come on top of the direct costs to parents noted by the budgeting service.

"The reality is the Government funds only part of the cost of running schools, even in poorer areas. Parents are left to pick up the tab, despite record Government surpluses," says Mr English.

"But Mr Benson-Pope hasn't listened to the School Trustees Association when they have expressed concerns about the financial strain on parents resulting from Labour's lean operations grants.

"Hopefully he will listen to the Budgeting Service who have to deal with parents' hardship."

Mr English says there is a strong and growing expectation that schools' operations grants will get a decent boost this election year.

"Help with schools' budgets will help parents with theirs as the pressure to fundraise to keep schools going is eased."

Ends

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