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NZPF: Budget 08 is nothing but broken promises

Media Release - for immediate release

NZPF: Budget 08 is nothing but broken promises

- New Zealand Principals’ Federation, 22 May 2008 -

The New Zealand Principals Federation is extremely disappointed with Michael Cullen’s Budget 2008 announcements, and says the Government has broken earlier promises to the education sector.

NZPF President Paddy Ford is furious following Dr Cullen’s budget, announced in Parliament this afternoon. “Last year we were promised funding to recognise the workload covered by our admin support staff in covering government initiatives. The Government has forced our support staff to complete extra work including electronic registers and enrolment, and electronic school management systems. The cost of these changes must sit outside the operational funding, something the Government themselves acknowledged last year.”

“It’s a complete double standard – the Government acknowledged a need for extra funding in this area, but they have not kept their word.

Ford says he has lost faith in the Government. “We have done so much work with the Government on this, but it all appears to have been for nothing.”

Ford has also criticised the other education announcements in the Budget as simply band-aid solutions. “The increases to schools’ operational grant will not even allow us to keep up with inflation. There is no funding allocated to allow Principals to deal with behavioual issues. The needs of these students sit outside the operational grant funding, and schools are facing heavy burdens in dealing with these pupils. But the Government has chosen to ignore those students and their needs.”

Ford also says Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) are grossly underfunded. “RTLB teachers are spending far too much of their budget on travel, simply because there aren’t enough RTLB teachers available,” says Ford. “This cost is a huge drain on school budgets. Petrol costs keeps rising, yet the schools are being forced to cope with the same funding allocation. Where is the fairness in that?”

Ford has also slated the lack of funding for professional development. “After many years of hard work, culminating in the Kiwi Leadership framework document, we have no  increases for the professional development of Principals. Five years of work has gone into the pilot and training schemes for this project. Budget 2008 was the opportunity to set a professional development programme in place, one that would prove the government is as passionate about leadership and education as we are. It appears this is not the case.”

Ford says that “in a week when we are supposed to be celebrating success in education, we are faced with a government that refuses to acknowledge that our education system needs appropriate resourcing to do its job.”



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