School Funding Formula A Dollar Each Way – NZSTA
New Zealand School Trustees Association says the new funding formula for schools represents “a dollar each way”.
NZSTA president Owen Edgerton says the announcement made by the Minister of Education today means the majority of schools will receive extra funding. However, a significant number of boards will have less to spend on their students.
Owen Edgerton says it is disappointing that the 570 schools which have previously been fully funded stand to lose varying degrees of part of their current funding level, and will not find the redistribution palatable.
He says it is important that it is not forgotten that these schools entered the fully funded option as a lawful funding choice.
“While I welcome increased funding levels for boards of trustees for centrally funded schools, it is hard to escape the conclusion that many boards of trustees which had exercised legitimate choices of funding in the past, may feel let down or even angry at the changes.”
“Some of these schools will lose quite heavily under the redistribution and this may have significant impact on staffing levels, including the need to shed staff.
Owen Edgerton says it is pleasing the Minister and Government has taken on board the need to retain the flexibility enjoyed by schoools under the fully funded option.
“I am disappointed that the flexibility has been curtailed to the extent of not specifically allowing boards to reward high performing teachers out of the additional funding the majority of boards receive.”
Owen Edgerton says many boards will receive a significant increase in their operations grant as a result of the funding change, and NZSTA is urging them to target this funding to improve the education of its students.
“While boards clearly have the freedom to determine how to use the extra funding they will receive, I am strongly encouraging all boards to ensure that the money is used in a way that will directly benefit students in terms of improved learning opportunities.”
He is also urging boards not to hurry into making a decision on how the extra funding will be spent.
“There is absolutely no need to rush to make any decision, and a good strategy for many boards will be to simply incorporate the additional funding into their normal strategic planning and annual planning processes which will drive their normal budgetary process.”
Owen Edgerton says boards and principals should also be aware is they have total control of where the extra funding will be spent.
“At the centre of self-managed schools is the philosophy that school boards know what is best for their school community, and their decisions should reflect that. Boards have the total discretion to decide how this funding should be used to best meet the needs of their school and students.”