Charter schools could siphon off needy kids’ funding
7 March 2013
Charter schools could siphon off needy kids’ funding – Green Party media release
The National Government’s charter schools experiment has hit a new low as documents reveal that funding for children with specialist education needs could be siphoned off by the school and spent however it wants, the Green Party said today.
“National and Act have gone out of their way to remove from charter school pupils the protections and guarantees of a good education that other kiwi children have,” Green Party Co-leader and Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei said.
“The Government’s Partnership Schools application form reveals it intends to give charter schools huge upfront payments to run their schools including ‘support funding’ payments usually intended for needy learners.
“None of this money is tagged. It makes it possible for corporate schools to literally siphon off the funding meant for children with learning difficulties to do anything it wants with it,” Mrs Turei said.
“A school of about 500 would be paid $180,000 upfront in ‘support funding’, which includes special education assistance for its pupils, with no obligation to spend that money on kids who need it.
“Kids whose needs are too expensive or difficult could become entirely dispensable.”
The application explains that other state schools currently receive a ‘considerable amount’ of centrally funded support on a targeted basis to individual students, teachers and schools, including money for special education assistance, professional development and even truancy help.
all this support would be provided on a ‘cashed up
basis’ to charter schools, and no funding would be
Higher needs pupils, however, who attract ORRS funding will still be funded centrally.
“We already have insufficient support for kids with special education needs, but to not tag any of this funding is totally counter to the needs of our most vulnerable learners,” Mrs Turei said.
“These documents reveal an ugly corporate model where untrained people take classes, student success is measured as a ‘Key Performance Indicator’ and the individual child’s needs could be completely ignored,” Mrs Turei said.
“They even leave open the prospect of little primary school kids being forced to sit at their desks till 5pm each day if that’s what their school boss wants. No maximum school day hours are stipulated in the agreement.
“The fact the National Government has invited applications for charter schools before MPs have even finished hearing submissions on the controversial model shows utter contempt, not just for kids, but for democracy itself,” Mrs Turei said.