A South Auckland primary school says it would be substantially hampered without the private sector sponsorship it has had for almost two decades - but it is not interested in becoming a charter school.
Bairds Mainfreight Primary School in Otara has had a partnership with Mainfreight since 1992, and the company has helped the school buy equipment such as computers and whiteboards.
Private sector partnerships with schools is in the spotlight after the Government revealed a plan to trial charter schools - effectively state-funded private schools that are open to sponsorship from iwi, universities, the non-profit sector and for-profit businesses.
The trial is part of the National-Act confidence and supply arrangement, which has been criticised as a proposal that neither party campaigned on before the election.
Bairds principal Alan Lyth said the school was not a charter school, nor would he want it to be.
"We have the best of both worlds. We are beholden to the Ministry of Education, but we get great support from the private sector."
He said schools already had a "good deal of autonomy" since the 1989 changes in the Tomorrow's Schools initiative.
He saw potential dangers in charter schools.
"If people have total control over the curriculum, that's open to go down a path which may or may not be beneficial for everyone. And I think performance pay for teachers is another area where it would make it harder for us to attract good staff."
But he said the money from Mainfreight had made a significant difference.
Could the school survive without it?
"Yes. Could we do as well as we do without it? No."
He said the school was not accountable to Mainfreight, and the company donated money on a case-by-case basis.
"We come up with a project we think is worthwhile and discuss it with Mainfreight."
In 2007, Mainfreight helped the school buy smartboards - interactive whiteboards.
"Instead of us taking four years to get them, we had them all in 2008."
In the past 10 years, Mainfreight had gifted the school about $750,000, he said. The school's annual budget was about $700,000.
In return the schools carries the company name, and the children's uniforms carry the Mainfreight logo.
"We try and make sure our kids, wherever they are, live up to the expectations that Mainfreight have or their staff - well dressed, approachable. Not only are they representing the school, but Mainfreight as well," Mr Lyth said.
He said he did not need more autonomy - though he could always use more money.