Posted by: Cynic on 28, Apr, 2010
The April edition of the PPTA News includes a message from the president, Kate Gainsford, about a new and REDUCED funding formula that the Ministry of Education is developing for small area schools (below 200). Well that’s what it seems to be planning judging from this document entitled Change of Class Applications (pdf) and obtained under the Official Information Act. Various ministers of education have been establishing new schools (even when there are surplus places at surrounding schools) as if there was no tomorrow.
The most recent minister, Anne Tolley has belatedly realised that the cost of facilitating parental choice by providing a secondary school on every corner - where the dairy used to be - is unaffordable. So what has she done? According to the document seven new kura kaupapa Maori have been approved by the minister to become wharekura (ie. area schools that provide education from year 1 to 15) BUT at a much lower funding rate than other are schools get. The document says this is an interim measure but that the ministry is working (in secret it appears) on a permanent formula. This raises a number of questions:
- Should wharekura get less funding than other area schools?
- Are all schools with roll numbers below 200 going to face reductions?
- How are the interests of schools that are small because they are remote going to be safeguarded?
- Are parents going to be expected to make up the shortfall?
- Is it right to provide “choice” thorough a mechanism that reduces funding and potentially diminishes education quality?