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Govt needs to be clear on support staff funding

It’s the time of year when schools are trying to work through budgets and contracts for some support staff, but they don’t know how much funding will be provided to address the increase to support staff pay as a result of last years’ settlement, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“National supports the additional support staff settlement, which will see pay increases for some 30,000 school support staff, kaiārahi and therapists. But the Government needs to come out and tell schools how much funding will be provided.

“It appears from communications via the New Zealand Schools Trustee Association that some money will come from the Government. Some also needs to come from schools’ operational grants but there hasn’t been any detail around this.

“It is hard for schools to budget for the year when they do not know how much they may need to set aside for the pay increase. Principals are concerned that if the Government doesn’t come up with a reasonable amount of cash then they may have to cut teacher aide hours.

“Schools need time to ensure the appropriate administration processes are in place so staff can be paid correctly by March when the new rates kick in. The Government should have been on top of this already.

“Board of Trustee members, including principals, are calling on the Government to front up and talk to schools so they know what they need to budget for.

“Schools need to be given financial certainty now for the year ahead.”

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