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Additional funding welcomed

16 December 2004

Additional funding welcomed – but is there more to come?

Education Minister Trevor Mallard's announcement of an extra $27 million for schools' operations grant funding is a step in the right direction, says the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

President Chris Haines says the additional funding is welcomed, however NZSTA is still looking for further increases to the operations grant to meet the funding shortfall schools currently face.

NZSTA understands that additional funding of $27 million will be distributed among schools, with funding protection until 2008 for those which would have otherwise been negatively affected by the change in the decile funding formula.

"While we cannot be totally confident of the longer-term impact, it appears the Government has recognised that a change to the funding structure is needed. At the same time, it has indicated a willingness to put more money into the education system."

Chris Haines says many schools will gain additional funding from this change and NZSTA has been assured that no school board will lose operations grant funding in the period through to the planned reassessment in 2008. This will follow the next national census.

He says there is also potential for other elements of schools' resourcing to be affected by the Minister's announcement. NZSTA has however received assurance that existing decile-linked programmes’ eligibility will remain until 1 January 2006. This will give schools time to adjust to any change in their eligibility for these programmes.

NZSTA understands during the intervening period the Government will be revisiting the link between school decile ratings and the most effective means of targeting these programmes. He says NZSTA would expect to be involved in this process.

"Clearly, this is a step in the right direction. But the funding announcement does not address the fundamental concerns NZSTA has with the level of schools' operations grants, issues which we are bringing to light in our current campaign.

"Schools boards are still awaiting assurance that there will be a significant increase to the base funding of schools through the normal budget process," says Chris Haines.

ENDS

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