Students left carrying the can for edundancies
Students left carrying the can for ACE redundancies.
December 11, 2009
According to education minister Anne Tolley, students in some New Zealand secondary schools will have to make do with less to fund redundancies caused by night class cuts.
PPTA president Kate Gainsford was stunned to hear that Tolley is insisting schools use their operations grant to pay for Adult and community education (ACE) staff redundancies next year.The operations grant covers the day to day running of a school, paying for everything from toilet paper to computers.
“Is Tolley seriously suggesting boards and principals should have had a crystal ball to tell them community classes - that have been running for more than 100 years - would be slashed by 80%? Are students to put up with reduced services because the education minister could not figure out what her decisions would cost?” she said.
When Labour MP Sue Moroney questioned Tolley in the house earlier this week about how a school was to cover this funding gap, Tolley’s response was to shift responsibility to its board of trustees.
“I say to the board of trustees that that was a decision it made when it employed someone full time on a yearly contract of funding. It was clearly a decision the board made itself,” Tolley said.
Gainsford said it was unbelievable Tolley could be so badly advised that she was unable to grasp that ACE positions had been part of a school’s staffing entitlement for decades, and had only become subject to annual funding after 2004.
“Of course appointments made before then were permanent - it would have been illegal for schools to do anything else,” she said.
“Tolley is pushing the decision off to trustees when there was no prior indication that they would have this funding cut. The cuts to ACE were not in any manifesto. There was never a mandate to make them in the first place,” she said.
“It is unconscionable for Tolley to make secondary school students the fall guys for her lack of foresight. Schools cannot possibly cover the cost of redundancies that could be anything up to $80,000.Some of the ACE coordinators being made redundant have been in the position for 20 years or more. The cuts were a bolt out of the blue and schools should not be made to foot the bill because the minister has not done her homework,” she said.