A new funding system for schools and teachers has been proposed by the Government, including a "global" salary system already being criticised by the secondary schools union.
In consultation documents published on the Ministry of Education's website, the department proposes a new funding system with "the potential to increase flexibility in schools' use of funding while simplifying funding arrangements".
The change would set a "global budget" for each school, delivered as cash instalments for school expenses, and a credit system for salaries.
According to the documents, this would mean:
• Principals would determine the split between cash and credit, with the flexibility to make adjustments during the year.
• Unspent credit would be paid out at the end of the year and a process for recovering credit overspends would be established.
• Teaching staff salaries would be charged against the "credit" portion at an average rate.
• Non-teaching staff salaries would be charged against the "credit" portion at actual cost.
The global budget system would not be the same as the controversial bulk funding of teacher salaries that sparked protests 20 years ago, the proposal said. The documents said: "This is a significant difference from historical bulk funding proposals which would have seen schools charged the actual salary."
However, Post Primary Teachers Association president Angela Roberts has criticised the proposal, saying it would mean schools were incentivised to hire fewer teachers so they had more money to spend elsewhere.
"School are going to be in the terrible position of trying to make decisions about how to pay for the entire school to run and there will be significant pressure on them to reduce their staffing costs, both teacher aides and teachers," she told Radio New Zealand.
Teachers and parents had rejected bulk funding 20 years ago, Ms Roberts told the broadcaster, and she expected they would do the same with this proposal.
The consultation documents are part of the Government's Education Funding Review, which has also proposed scrapping the decile system and targeting funding to at-risk children.