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Nats face test on bulk funding for schools

Nats face test on bulk funding for schools

New Zealanders will soon get the chance to see whether the National Party still supports the concept of bulk funding for schools, Labour’s spokesperson for Education Trevor Mallard said today.

Mr Mallard was commenting following Act’s Sir Roger Douglas’ Education (Board of Trustee Freedom) Amendment Bill being pulled from the ballot today.

“The Bill resurrects the spectre of bulk funding of schools by enabling public system school Boards of Trustees to set teachers salaries without moderation from government – despite funding for schools coming out of taxes,” Trevor Mallard said.

“As we saw from the debates of the 1990s, in which bulk funding was totally rejected by Kiwis, the effect would be to totally distort pay scales, with schools in poorer areas losing out.

“It is hard to see how tilting the playing field towards schools in more wealthy areas is the best use of our scarce resources.

“Labour’s view remains that the taxpayer gets the best value for money from spreading tax dollars as evenly and fairly as possible.

“There are other ways to create a flexible school environment that encourages and reward teachers’ talent and responsibility, such as management units, which Labour put in place.
“Instead, this Bill favours the few at the expense of the many and deserves to be voted down.

“There is already suspicion among some in the education sector that National is edging towards bulk funding, despite pre-election promises it wouldn’t.

“In this year’s Budget National allowed schools to drop their staffing 10 per cent below the staffing schedule minima and cash up the difference, and to cash up their property money instead of doing the capital works that the money is allocated for – which in practice achieves much the same as bulk funding.

“Sir Roger’s Bill will provide a test for National. If it supports it, it is breaking its pre-election promise outright. If it votes against it that just leaves New Zealand wondering,” Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS


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