Education suffers in Budget 2017

25 May 2017

Education is the loser in today’s Budget announcement, with early childhood services suffering the eight straight year of a funding freeze, and an increase to the school operations grant that will not cover inflation.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart described Vote Education as a "series of excuses" that delivered the bare minimum to cover population growth and avoid being accused of another school funding freeze.

“It was frustrating to see the Government boast about what amounts to a $2-a-year increase for targeted funding for “at risk” children – less than the cost of the Prime Minister’s Budget Day pie,” she said.

“We were hoping for a major boost for education, but this wasn't even a catch-up. The government has let down our children, who need properly-funded schools and early childhood services, not excuses.

“This is a devastating blow to a sector that has been struggling to make ends meet and give our children a quality public education,” she said.

“Our members identified a raft of measures needed to restore funding eroded from education, and not a single one has been addressed. We estimate schools need an extra $50m a year in the operations grant, but have been given $60.5m over four years.”

The increase in the operations grant will not cover inflation or last year’s Budget freeze and fails to fund a fair increase for low-paid support staff who are currently in collective agreement negotiations with the ministry.

“Our dedicated ECE teachers must be gutted by the eighth straight year of freezes on per-child funding. Services have been closing, changing hours, reducing qualified staff and everything possible to stay afloat. They simply can’t tighten their belts any further. This is going to further hit quality or parents’ pockets.”

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