Schools in the Bay of Plenty will be worse off as a result of a radical new funding system.

Next year schools will get $92 in extra funding for each such student from a long-term welfare-dependent background - which has disappointed Tauranga school principals.

The money was designed to close the gap in achievement between the top and bottom children, and would be a substantial bonus for some schools - while also underlining the challenges they faced.

For example, Merivale School has about 86 students receiving the targeted funding, so gets a total of $7892.

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However, other schools like Aquinas College would get less than they would have had the usual general increase to help cover inflation been adopted.

Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti said the $92 per student was "pretty disappointing".
"Ninety-two dollars doesn't go very far whatsoever."

Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti is disappointed about the new school funding shakeup. Photo/file
Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti is disappointed about the new school funding shakeup. Photo/file

She said she had major concerns about affording support staff who were paid out of the bulk grant.

"They are absolutely critical to the development of our children, particularly at Merivale School where they are keeping vulnerable children engaged in learning."

Otumoetai College had 253 of its students identified as targeted children.

Principal Dave Randell said when he was called up about a special announcement with regards to funding he thought 'wow, great' until he was told each student would get $92 for a total of $26,368.

"That doesn't even pay for one teacher's aid salary.

"I mean what are you supposed to do with $92 for a child who has serious learning difficulties?"

He said his support staff was due for a salary increase next year as part of their collective agreement. The school planned to honour that commitment but the money came out of the school's operations grant.

"I don't want to deter them, they are magnificent but it's pouring more and more money out of the classroom."

He said it was disappointing for schools when they were doing their best for the country's young people.

Mr Randell was grateful but they would appreciate more support for funding from the Government.

School operations funding, which greatly affected resources and day-to-day operations, normally kept pace with anticipated inflation, and the ministry acknowledged a "strong expectation" in the sector for that to happen.

However, base operations funding would not be inflation-adjusted next year.

Instead, the only extra money would be split between schools that have some of the 133,000 students throughout the country judged to be at-risk.

Education Minister Hekia Parata has introduced a new funding model to target
Education Minister Hekia Parata has introduced a new funding model to target "at risk" students. Photo / John Stone

The targeted approach means more than 1300 schools will get less money than they would have received, had that money been used for a general increase.

Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins said school budgets were already feeling the pinch and the at-risk funding model would worsen that - putting more pressure on parents.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said she was targeting the "at-risk" group because they had a higher risk of poor school results, but also of getting into trouble with the law and suffering poor physical and mental health.

"I'm surprised that Labour are so opposed to targeting funding to our most vulnerable children."

Go online to http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11722846 to see your school's 2017 funding.

At a glance
• Schools will get $92 per at-risk student on their roll.
• More than 1300 schools are set to get less money than they would otherwise have received under the shake-up. About 816 schools will get more, and information on a further 242 schools is suppressed for privacy reasons because fewer than five students are at-risk.
• Critics say the change will hurt more than 1300 schools and force parents to pay more for their child's education.
• Goverment argues the new model will target those kids who need the most help.