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Crisis in school funding

Crisis in school funding

Thursday 3 Mar 2005

Deborah Coddington - Press Releases - Education

Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope is just plain wrong when he argues that schools have enough money because they manage to balance their books, ACT Education spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"My office is flooded with letters and emails from principals and school trustees who have painstakingly collected research to show that the Labour Government is not honouring its commitment to fund state schools," Miss Coddington said.

"The Minister saying schools are doing okay because they manage to balance their books is like saying a starving man's not hungry because he manages to stay alive. When you're struggling to stay alive you behave frugally and cut out many of life's necessities.

"I have proof that the basic funding of many schools has dropped by around 14 percent from 1989 to 2002 and nearly 15 percent by 2003.

"The Government might protest that funding has increased, but this money is earmarked for special groups of students or for specific purposes and must be spent as such.

"Meanwhile schools are increasingly trying to rely on fundraising just to make ends meet. Low decile schools are especially in trouble because they simply can't go to the parents, many of whom barely have enough money to feed their children, for donations.

"As part of our Mothers on the Road campaign I am visiting some of these schools and hearing first hand how schools are struggling to educate our children - and all the while this Government sits on a big fat $7 billion surplus.

"If Labour is going to tax people into oblivion, then refuse to spend it on essentials like education, then they should just let New Zealanders keep the money in the first place so they can spend it on the education of their choice for their children," Miss Coddington said.


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