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Schools - significant, ongoing financial hardship

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

8 February 2006

Schools face significant, ongoing financial hardship

National’s Education spokesman, Bill English, says more than 200 schools will have started the year with significant financial problems.

Answers to parliamentary questions show that 199 schools are on financial watch because they have run deficits for the previous two years and remain in financial difficulty.

Mr English says this shows many schools are faced with significant, ongoing financial problems

The latest School Sector Report, released last year, shows that 42% of primary schools and 43% of secondary schools have operating deficits.

By the Ministry’s own standard, 15 primary and 9 secondary schools have ‘large’ deficits. Eighty-eight schools have deficits in excess of $100,000.

“It’s likely that many more schools’ finances will worsen this year as they face rising costs resulting from IT and support staff pay increases,” says Mr English.

“Secondary schools will be hit particularly hard as they suffer the financial consequences of plummeting international student numbers and steadily increasing costs associated with NCEA.

“As the economy slows it is increasingly unlikely that schools’ operating budgets will be increased to a level that will ease their financial problems so, once again, parents and communities will be left to meet the shortfall.”

School sector statistics show that locally raised funds accounted for more than $500 million worth of school revenue in 2004.

The proportion of school revenue raised locally has increased every year that Labour has been in office. In 2004 primary schools raised an average of $473 per student in local funds, while secondary schools raised an average of $1,026 per student.

ENDS

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