Better support for children with mental health issues and a thawing of the freeze on schools' operational grants are the standout contenders in local educators' Budget wish list.

The Budget will be announced tomorrow and Rotorua educators are hoping to see money spent in areas that will directly benefit children.

Last year's Budget saw a freeze on schools' operational funding - an issue that has plagued educators who are struggling to make ends meet when it comes to running their schools.

Rotorua Principals' Association president and Rotokawa School principal Briar Stewart said she hoped to see significant support for children with mental health issues.

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"The delays for children to receive support within our system are far too long and often far too little support can be provided to support the children in school, and at home."

She said she would also like to see the Budget support schools with in-school Operations Grant Funds to "truly support the safe running of our schools and to support our teachers with teacher aides".

"These are the people at the coal face who are working with our children whose needs in classes are significant. We have a wide range of children with mental health issues that are very difficult to manage in a classroom with no or very little support.

"The frozen operations grant for this year means when the teacher aides get the pay rise being negotiated currently, the school has to trim their budget very carefully to meet that
obligation. That is a very unfair outcome for a long, well-deserved increase with many schools on a very tight or deficit budget.

"Quality education relies on a strong commitment from the Budget to our children - they are our future and the best investment any country can make."

Stewart said the Budget had both an immediate and a long-term effect on children's learning outcomes.

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"Incrementally and annually starving education of funds only leads to quality outcomes being progressively reduced."

Nga Pumanawa e Waru Trust chairman Leith Comer said he would like to see the trust's work around building future-focused learning environments for Rotorua children and their families reflected in the Budget.

"Nga Pumanawa e Waru is working with schools and whanau in the acquisition of technology and devices. It is really important nobody misses out on learning opportunities because of their socio-economic background.

"We would like to see the Government showing support for these families and ensure all homes have connection to the internet to allow the continued learning of children outside the school gates."

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said day-to-day expenses in schools had increased and the Budget should increase the operational grants to "at least match inflation".

"Despite the Government saying there wasn't a freeze on funding, in reality there was and with costs increasing, schools are struggling. That's my No 1 wish.

"The other big one is funding for students with special needs, particularly those with low to medium needs. They require high delivery of resources that schools are currently not funded for."

Walsh said he would also like to see the Budget include technology funding to ensure every child had access to digital devices, regardless of socio-economic barriers.

Education wish list
- Increase in funding to cover the cost of running a school.
- Financial support for the delivery of technology and devices.
- Better support for students with mental health issues.
- More funding to support special needs students.