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Mallard's funding priorities in disarray

Hon Bill English

National Education Spokesman

24 September 2004

Mallard's funding priorities in disarray

"Under Labour, bureaucratic growth at the Ministry of Education leaves the growth in schools' funding for dead, and parents have been left to meet the shortfall," says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

"Since 1999, the per-pupil funding increase in spending on schools' operations has been 10%. But, by contrast, the Ministry's operating budget has increased by 44%, the NZQA's has almost tripled, and ERO's has increased by 26%.

"When parents are selling raffle tickets to employ teachers and to buy software and books, they have every right to challenge spending on questionable items such as:

o Administration of regulation - $87.3m o Policy advice - $47.1m (doesn't include ownership advice - further $20.2m) o Curriculum support - $86m o Professional development - $114m (excluding school support $17.2m) o Developing strategic coherence - $19.4m o Capacity development - $16.4m

"And if you want to know more about it, the education budget coughs up a further $54.4 million for 'information provision'," says Mr English.

"The funding system gets messier by the month. At last count there were 36 pools that schools could apply to for extra funding, tied up with 32 new education strategies.

"It's ironic that at a time when we have the biggest surplus in a lifetime, the state education sector is dependent on half a billion dollars raised by parents and communities.

"It's time money was redirected away from bureaucrats and PC initiatives and towards teachers and students," says Mr English.

ENDS


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