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Increase in parent donations shows funding boost is needed

Increase in parent donations shows funding boost is needed for education

10 December 2016

The marked increase in parental donations over the past year shows an urgent need to spend public money on increased education funding, not tax cuts, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.

Figures published today show parental donations have continued to rise over the past three years but leapt by $11.8 million in 2015 -- while Government spending per primary school student remains below the OECD average.

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Louise Green says a NZEI survey of principals last month suggests many schools will need to seek even larger donations and cut teacher aides next year because of the Government's freeze on school funding in the 2016 Budget.

Current education funding is simply not sustainable and threatens Kiwi children's right to free and equitable public education, she says.

"John Key talked earlier this week in one of his final interviews as Prime Minister about education as an essential lever to give children in poverty a chance in life. But when schools are relying on donations for core business such as paying teacher aides to support children's learning and keeping playgrounds open, something is wrong."

She said a recent example of the equity challenge created by under-funding of schools was a Queenstown primary school benefiting to the tune of $250,000 from the profits of the sale of a house built by local firms.

"Obviously this was a great boost to that school and a generous gift from local companies, but it relied on a high income community and the housing bubble to make it happen - and ironically the Queenstown area is currently struggling to attract teachers because of the high house prices.

"This type of fundraising simply isn't an option though for most primary schools who cannot attract private philanthropy or international students, and whose parent communities are already struggling financially."

She says the Government needs to restore funding for both schools and ECE services if it is serious about a real commitment to children and their future.


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