Schools meet to discuss Govt proposal

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Hastings Girls' High School principal Geraldine Travers has been able to hire the best teachers available but fears that will end with global funding proposals. Photo: File
Hastings Girls' High School principal Geraldine Travers has been able to hire the best teachers available but fears that will end with global funding proposals. Photo: File

Principals, teachers and support staff from early childhood to secondary schools around Hawke's Bay are uniting today to discuss the Government's proposal for global funding.

Members of NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA are meeting together for the first time on this scale to protest against the Government's wishes for schools to receive all resourcing in cash and credits for staffing.

Hastings Girls' High School principal Geraldine Travers said staff were currently employed through an allocated number based on the school role.

"This meant I am able to hire someone who is the best for the job regardless of costs. If we are suddenly given a certain amount of money then it could lead to hiring the cheapest teacher as you only have x amount of money left."

She said teachers overseas found our current system amazing and she did not see the need for it to be changed now.

The funding proposals could result in fewer teachers and bigger class sizes.

Boards of Trustees would have to make trade-offs between the number of teachers they employ and other non-teaching costs.

It would also give the Government greater ability to freeze or restrict funding. The current system locked in staffing based on school rolls, but the global budget would not have the same guarantees.

This year the Government froze all schools' operations grant, which made up around 30 per cent of school funding, and was used to pay for the running costs of schools and support staff wages.

The global budget would allow the Government to freeze funding for all of the schools budget.

The Education Council said it did not want the changes to result in resources moving away from qualified teachers because they knew that quality teaching made the biggest positive impact on lifting the achievement of students.

The first meeting takes place at 9am this morning at the Napier Municipal Theatre.

Members of Hukarere, Napier Boys' High School, Napier Girls' High School, Sacred Heart College (Napier), St Joseph's Maori Girls' College, Tamatea High School, Taradale High School, TKKM o Te Ara Hou and William Colenso College were all attending.

The second meeting would be held at 1.30pm in the Hastings Girls' High School hall.

Members of Central Hawkes Bay College, Flaxmere College, Hastings Boys' High School, Hastings Christian School, Hastings Girls' High School, Heretaunga Intermediate, Karamu High School, Lindisfarne College, St John's College (Hastings), Taikura Rudolf Steiner School, Te Aute College, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Hawkes Bay) and TKKM o Ngati Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga were attending.

The meetings had drawn very large attendance and schools in Hawke's Bay would be either closed or operating on a skeleton staff in the morning and afternoon.

Mrs Travers said in her time of 19 years she had never had an assemblage of this capacity before.

"Tomorrow in the hall we will have primary, secondary and support staff all under the same roof effectively fighting for the same thing, it is crazy."

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