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Southland classrooms chalk up Budget bonus

Southland classrooms chalk up Budget bonus

"The Budget reinforces Labour's commitment to strengthening Southland schools by further reducing pupil-teacher ratios, increasing funding for our schools and investing more in modernising school buildings,"

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Budget 2006 spells out a huge investment in more teachers and more resources for Southland schools, says Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa.

"The Budget reinforces Labour's commitment to strengthening Southland schools by further reducing pupil-teacher ratios, increasing funding for our schools and investing more in modernising school buildings," Mahara Okeroa said.

The Budget provides $361 million in new funding over the next four years, plus $20 million in the current financial year to boost teacher numbers and put more resources into schools.

"The 96 schools in the Southland* area are already set to get around 16 extra teacher positions for the 2007 school year. Since 1999, operational funding for local schools has increased by about $7.59 million," said Mahara Okeroa.

The Labour-led government is prioritising an extra 455 teachers for primary and special schools - meaning a total 3040 extra teacher positions created across New Zealand since 1999.

Schools' operational funding also increases by $95.6m nationwide (a 3% increase), and capital funding for school property upgrades will increase by nearly $149m, to almost $528m in 2006/2007.

"Labour is committed to ensuring every school is a good school and all students have the opportunity to succeed, including in Southland," Mahara Okeroa said.

Education Minister Steve Maharey said investment in education was vital to transforming New Zealand's economy and society.

"This Budget continues Labour's drive to ensure our school system remains among the best in the world by continuing to invest in our schools and invest in our teachers," he said.


ENDS

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