Better pay and more support are at the top of the local education sector's wishlist for the 2018 Budget.
Rotorua Principals' Association president Briar Stewart said the Budget should be about long-term planning.
"They have to have a very serious look at remuneration," Stewart said.
"It's about creating a profession that will draw and hold people."
Stewart said this also applied to support staff, who needed a "realistic pay rate they can live on".
She said a higher degree of support for special needs children and equity around property were also needed.
"So many schools are putting up with prefabs that were installed in the 1960s and now are causing serious issues."
Ngakuru School principal Gareth Cunliffe is one of only four staff at his school, which has 49 pupils.
"From a small-school perspective we do just as much as the big schools but with very limited resources. We have fewer students but the demands are still the same," he said.
Cunliffe called for special needs and teacher aide funding and equity of pay across principals.
Toi Ohomai's executive director of corporate services, Anthony Robertson, said the institute's wishlist was simple: "To make tertiary education more accessible to everyone, including addressing historical funding gaps."
Emire Khan-Malik, the president of the institute's student association, Student Pulse, said she wanted to see more money for polytechnics so the institute could invest in more teaching tools.
She also wanted to see an increase in financial support for students.
Education sector wishlist:
- Higher level of support for special needs children.
- Better remuneration and equity of pay.
- Increased financial support for students for equipment, transport and living costs.
- Correct the lack of inflationary adjustment to funding levels for polytechnics.
- Investment in polytechnics.