NZEI Says Decile Assistance Will Cushion the Blow
The country’s largest education sector union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, is pleased the government has answered its call to provide transitional funding for schools hit hard by decile changes.
The Education Minister Chris Carter has announced $5.7 million in government assistance to give schools more time to adjust to changes to their decile rankings.
Decile changes are made every five years, based on the previous year’s census information on a school community’s socio-economic makeup. How much funding a school receives is tied to its decile ranking. As a result of the 2006 census and the Ministry of Education’s decile review, some schools that moved up the decile scale, were faced with having tens of thousands of dollars wiped from their budgets for 2008.
When the decile review was announced in September, NZEI said schools had not been given enough time to adjust their budgets for next year, in line with the altered funding. It said this could cost jobs for teaching staff or teacher aides, or jeopardise large building projects which had been planned or were already underway. It called on the government to provide transitional funding to help affected schools plug the shortfall and cover off any major expenses.
NZEI National President elect Frances Nelson, who is also the Principal of Fairburn School in Otahuhu in south Auckland, says “the cluster of schools in Otahuhu has collectively lost approximately $500,000 that will impact significantly on educational provision. The transition funding will cushion the blow and enable a number of projects and activities to continue for these schools and their communities during the coming year.”
NZEI has also sought assurances from the Ministry of Education that there will be better involvement and consultation with sector groups during the next decile review process.
It has also asked that the Ministry provide a detailed explanation of the decile system in census year, particularly for principals who have not yet experienced the adjustment process and need to understand how it could affect their school.