Stephanie is a senior reporter for the Rotorua Daily Post.

Budget could be better: Principals

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Ngakuru School Principal Grant Henderson
Ngakuru School Principal Grant Henderson

Education has been named one of the big winners in the Budget with $11 billion being injected into the sector, but local principals are disappointed with no increase in schools' operational funding.

Rotorua Principals' Association president and Ngakuru School principal Grant Henderson said, from a financial point of view, education was a winner, but to be real winners it would come down to how that investment was spent.

"The $43 million for schools to target the most at-risk students is good, but only if it goes straight to the kids. I am worried we will see that money go to the adults facilitating, organising and creating criteria for the programmes designed to help the children."

Mr Henderson said while it was great to see $11 billion injected into the sector, it was concerning none of that went was to increase the funding that covers the cost of running a school.

"It means we are going to have to go out and source secondary funding to keep our schools running, we are going to have to keep asking for donations from our parents and looking for other ways to bridge that gap between the funding we get and the education our Government expects us to provide."

He was pleased to see money going into the early childhood sector.

"If we can beef up our early childhood education, schools are going to benefit because we will have more children coming to us 'school ready'."

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said there was good news and bad news.
"I applaud the $11 billion that is being spent in the education portfolio and certainly welcome that.

"I also recognise the importance of targeted funding for those students most at risk and it is also important to note students with special needs have been missing out for some time so the increase in students able to access Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding, the increase in teacher aide hours for students and extra technology will be welcomed by the sector.

"But the one area I, and many other educators, will be disappointed in is not seeing in increase in operational grants. There is a gap between that grant and what it costs to run a school so increasingly we are going to have to ask parents to make donations in order to ensure their children are getting a 21st Century education."

New measures

$11 billion in early childhood, primary and secondary

An extra $1.4 billion over the next four years

$397 million for early childhood education

$883 million for new school property

$43 million for schools to target most at-risk students

$42 million for high and special education students

No increase for schools' operational funding

- Rotorua Daily Post

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