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Feds Disappointed Rural Education Not Mentioned

22 June 2000
PR56/2000

FEDERATED FARMERS LOOKED TO BUDGET TO 'CLOSE THE GAPS' IN RURAL EDUCATION

Federated Farmers rural education spokesperson, Roger Barton, said Federated Farmers is disappointed that rural education did not rate a mention in the Government's Budget.

"Rural education, and its associated problems, are not specifically addressed in the Budget, which is very disappointing," said Mr Barton.

"Rural schools, like every other, will benefit from the Budget's boost to operational and property funding. Nevertheless, there are problems in rural education that require specific attention if the gaps between urban and rural education are to be closed."

"Leadership development is an area that is particularly important to small, sole charge schools, but it receives minimal funding," said Mr Barton.

Federated Farmers has campaigned for the retention of the soon to be abolished bulk funding scheme. "Our members have told us that they value the flexibility that bulk funding brings. The Government has announced that schools will still enjoy much of the flexibility that bulk funding allowed, as much of the extra money can be spent how individual schools think fit."

"But if the Government values the flexibility associated with bulk funding, why is bulk funding being scraped," commented Mr Barton.

Mr Barton welcomed the announcement of an increase in property funding for schools. "Rural schools often lack the facilities that urban schools take for granted. For example, inadequate classroom and administration facilities can be off-putting to prospective teachers."

"There is a real need to 'close the gaps' between urban and rural education and Federated Farmers will be watching closely to see that the funding increases announced by the Government does just that," concluded Mr Barton.

ENDS For more information: Roger Barton 025-415-268 Emma O'Sullivan 06-575-3423


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