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Council saves Enviroschools in Waitakere

Media Release
June 19, 2009

Council steps in to save Enviroschools in Waitakere

Waitakere City Council has extended a lifeline to keep the Enviroschools programme in the west afloat, increasing its funding to the programme by $90,000 over two years.

The national programme, currently joint funded by central government and councils, was facing an uncertain future after the Ministry of Education announced it was pulling funding from the programme in December.

Waitakere Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said once again, local government is stepping in to support programmes that central government has dropped.

“The Government has said that councils could continue to support Enviroschools and naturally we were concerned that without our support the programme may well fall over.

“It’s ironic that at a time when we have a government wanting Auckland councils to butt out of things not considered core council business, it is local government left to pick up the slack in this regard,” she says.

Waitakere’s Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) and Annual Plan Committee recommended that it provide an additional $30,000 in 2009/2010 and an additional $60,000 in 2010/2011 to the EcoMatters Environment Trust, which currently delivers the programme to some Waitakere schools.

The extra funds are on top of the $30,000 the council already gives to the programme.

“Obviously we hope the Government will see sense and reconsider its decision but we want to ensure the programme’s survival in the West for the next two years at least,” says Cr Hulse.

She says whether it extends beyond that time is for the new Auckland Council to decide.

There are 26 Waitakere schools involved in the Enviroschools programme with the EcoMatters Environment Trust providing a facilitator to support eight of these.

There are two schools currently without a facilitator and the others are serviced by a range of agencies including the Auckland Regional Council and Team Solutions (University of Auckland), which also provides professional development for schools on behalf of the Ministry of Education.

If the Government sticks by its decision to cut funding it will mean that 12 of the 26 Waitakere Enviroschools will be without a facilitator from January. These include the 10 currently serviced by Team Solutions and the two without a facilitator.

EcoMatters Trust has assessed that to provide these additional 12 schools with the same level of support would cost $60,000.

The council will formally adopt its LTCCP on June 30.

ENDS

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