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Major parties fail to step up ton inadequate funds

Media Release

Major parties fail to step up to the plate on inadequate school funding

Major political parties have failed New Zealand students by ignoring the ongoing inadequacy of schools operational funding, the New Zealand School Trustees Association says.

President Lorraine Kerr says boards of trustees will be very disappointed that political parties have failed to address this issue, yet are expecting even more from boards, principals and schools should they be in a position to form a new government.

The National Party indicative new education spending in budget 2009 includes provision for a supposed injection of $50 million “new” money in financial year 2009/10, rising to $75 million in 2010/11 and beyond for annual cost increases, including school operations grants.

However, NZSTA enquiries indicate that this “new” money is not new at all, but rather a reaffirmation of the cost adjustments already provided for in the 2008 budget, Lorraine Kerr says.

The Labour Party’s education policy document talks about their commitment to increases in operational funding (past and in the future), dealing with ICT pressure points and about recently reviewing funding allocated for schools. This later claim lacks some credibility given the previous Labour Government failed to release both the Non Teaching Staff Workforce report of 2007, and the Pilot Survey of school Finances undertaken by Polson Higgs.

Lorraine Kerr says that the 2008 election campaign offered the major parties a golden opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to a 21st century education system through adequately funding school boards consistent with the 21st century demands being placed on them. Instead they have simply failed to rise to that challenge.

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“Boards of trustees and principals of New Zealand schools will be very concerned at the apparent inability of the parties to understand that continuing to require boards and principals to deliver 21st century outcomes on 20th century funding is not a sound recipe for success, but one for ultimate failure.”

Pay rises, more staff and promised new initiatives will make little difference to the quality of anything, if the board is unable to afford to run a 21st century school in the first place, says Lorraine Kerr.

“NZSTA is surprised at both the lack of detail, and the lateness of the parties education policy, given education is supposedly a key plank in the parties election manifesto,” says says.


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