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Under-funding must be addressed

Media Release 26 September 2003

Under-funding must be addressed

Secondary teachers have called on the Ministry of Education to undertake an independent investigation into the true funding needs of schools and to establish a “Red Tape” commission to reduce schools’ compliance costs.

At PPTA’s Annual Conference this week its Principals’ Council chairperson Russell Trethewey told teachers that government funding was not keeping up with school needs.

“There needs to be a major review of education funding and more substantially a review of the extra costs that schools have had to cope with in the last few years.”

Mr Trethewey said schools were having to meet more and more of the costs associated with ICT, NCEA, copyright and staffing through non-government funding.

“Under-funding of public education has been going on for years. No one has funded schools for copyright, for ICT until fairly recently, for the pan tax or even the extra costs associated with NCEA.

“At Freyberg High School, we will receive $5 per student for NCEA next year - about $2500 for the school. Our real cost is $50,000 and in some larger schools it is $100,000.”

Mr Trethewey said locally raised funds had risen to 43 per cent of secondary schools’ operations funding if teacher salaries were excluded.

“Forty-three per cent of secondary schools spend more than they receive, and 15 per cent have working capital deficits – one of the signs of impending insolvency,” he said.

“Education is currently no longer free, but I think it is worse than that: The current funding situation has created a serious gap between the education that the ‘have’ schools are able to provide and what the ‘have not’ schools are able to provide.”

Secondary teachers also endorsed several other recommendations to address government under-funding of schools:
- that PPTA remain committed to a fully state funded compulsory education system
- that PPTA urge the Ministry to develop a needs-based index on which to base future Government grants
- that PPTA urge the Ministry of Education to increase funding to schools to meet the increasing costs of ICT delivery, particularly teacher professional development
- that PPTA urge that contestable funding be discontinued where possible in favour of a system based on demonstrated needs
- that costs associated with the auditing and monitoring of schools should be met through Ministry of Education funding.

Ends

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