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Arrangements for school funding need to be addressed

Hon Darren Hughes
Education Spokesperson
Clayton Cosgrove
Earthquake recovery spokesperson

27 February 2011 Media Statement

Arrangements for school funding need to be addressed in Government response to earthquake

Labour is urging the Government to include practical measures for school funding when it announces the initial Canterbury earthquake response package on Monday, said MPs Clayton Cosgrove and Darren Hughes.

"Canterbury Labour MPs have been approached by schools concerned about their ability to enrol students from schools which have had to close and we need a practical solution to make sure no one is disadvantaged by circumstances well beyond anyone's control," said Opposition Canterbury earthquake recovery spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

He has asked Labour education spokesperson Darren Hughes to see what suggestions the party could make to the Government.

Darren Hughes said March 1st was a critical date for schools as they have to submit their roll projections for the year and receive funding based on that number.

"These projections are then tested on July 1st when the figures are reconciled. Schools are concerned that if they enrol students now their budgets will be affected if the students return to their original school before July 1st.

"This is an administrative point, but it has huge implications on the ability of our schools to provide a top quality education. The practical solution is to allow students to be funded at their new school and at their original school if they are able to return to it in the future. This keeps schools viable during this tumultuous time. The last thing we want to see is schools who open their doors to displaced students being penalised with funding cuts later in the year."

Mr Cosgrove said that getting clarity was critical for schools.

"We know that there are families who have temporarily relocated to other parts of the city or to other towns in north and south Canterbury. Those schools need to know that they can enrol the students and get on with teaching and learning," said Mr Cosgrove.

Darren Hughes said Monday's Cabinet meeting was an ideal time to give certainty to families with school children in Canterbury.

"I've contacted the Minister of Education and asked her to raise this matter as an urgent oral item at Cabinet. She will have the total support of the Labour Opposition in developing an interim funding mechanism for enrolment that means no school is penalised due the February 22 earthquake," said Darren Hughes.


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