Vetting charges will put more pressure on schools
New police vetting charges for schools will end up costing children as the Government's funding freeze forces schools to dip into curriculum or staffing to meet any extra costs, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.
The NZ Police announced today it would charge schools and early childhood centres nearly $10 for every person they're required to vet. Schools and centres which need less than 20 people vetted will be exempt.
"This is just the latest example of additional costs being imposed on schools and ECE services, at the same time as their core government funding has been frozen," NZEI president Lynda Stuart says.
"The Government can't just freeze school funding this year and maintain seven years of funding freezes in ECE and expect kids to get the same quality of education year after year. Something's got to give and when it comes to education, it’s always kids who lose out in the end.
"Principals, teachers and support staff fully support any measures that are going to keep our children safe. But schools and ECE services need more money to meet these extra costs.
"The vetting charges come as NZEI members are negotiating a pay rise for school support staff, which will also mean another cost increase for schools that will have to be paid out of the same, frozen grant.
"Children deserve world-class well-resourced schools and the best early childhood education we can provide them. It’s ridiculous that tax cuts are being considered when schools and early childhood centres are struggling to stay afloat.’’
The Government announced in last year's budget that it would not be increasing the school operations grant this year, in order to pay for new targeted funding for some children at risk of underachievement. The grant is normally adjusted for inflation each year to prevent core funding for schools eroding over time. Meanwhile, per child funding in ECE has been virtually frozen since 2010.