Friday, March 23, 2007

State school funding - confusion!

State school funding - confusion!

Section 3 of the Education Act 1989 states that "every person who is not a foreign student is entitled to free education at any state school".

The Education Minister, Steve Maharey, stated that the Government provides schools with the necessary funds to deliver a safe curriculum as well as a safe environment for students and to meet the educating goals.

Parental donations are required only to fund extras such as school magazines and dances. It should be pointed out to schools that there is no legal provision for " school fees".

Since the Labour led Government took office in 1999 state funding increased from $3.8 billion dollars to $5.6 billion dollars.

Donations are legally voluntary. The Education ministry regularly reminds schools that they cannot make attendance conditional on the payment of schools.; although principals are adamant schools could not function without fees.

Schools will not be allowed to set compulsory fees - as significant number of parents are poor schools will not be forcing parents to pay these fees if they cannot afford them. No pressure should be put on parents to pay them on the drip-feed method, either. If parents are put in this position they should complain directly to the Education ministry.

Fees allegedly only make up 9% of schools income. Why then is so much pressure placed on parents? Schools do not appear to regularly run the cake stalls and fairs as they used to traditionally. Yet schools claim they need fees to assist all facets of running schools.

What has gone wrong? Are schools wasting funding on unnecessary expenditure. Sports and other activities are financed by special seperate activity fees, which are accepted by parents as being necessary in most cases.

One thing that simply amazes and confuses me a little, is that stated owned and funded secondary schools are permitted to set their own curriculum ie NCEA etc.

Don't expect any support from the National Party - they are totally politically motivated and only interested in finding ways to criticise Government policies, not looking for positive alternatives here!

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