Some Bay of Plenty schools' spending habits have been laid bare.
New data sourced by the NZ Herald revealed that Bay of Plenty schools spent $368 million in 2017, the most recent year for which figures were available.
Along with this data, a breakdown of almost every Government-funded schools' spending in 2017 was provided.
The research followed growing controversy over how many schools would be better off if they agreed to drop parent donations in exchange for a $150 per student payment for decile one to seven schools.
Some principals around the country have said they would have no choice but to cancel school camps and activities as they would not be able to ask parents to pay, leaving many mid-decile schools worse off.
The donations debate, while important, was a relatively small part of a much bigger picture on school spending.
In 2017, Bay of Plenty schools spent $368m, including $332m from the Government. Schools raised $31m.
Of the total spent, $89m was in Rotorua, with $82m Government-funded and $7.8m raised locally.
Ministry of Education spokeswoman Katrina Casey said boards of trustees were responsible for making decisions on how schools spent their funds and the funding a school received varied from school to school.
Within the data for Bay of Plenty, it was clear secondary schools spent more than primary and intermediate schools.
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Components in determining the amount of funding a school received were weighted by year level.
As a result, secondary schools would often receive more per-student funding than primary and intermediate Schools, Casey said.
Tauranga Intermediate, a decile five school, was highlighted as the largest intermediate school in the country with 1,288 students and the biggest intermediate school spend of just over $8.5m in 2017.
Tauranga Intermediate principal Cameron Mitchell said they were all about investing money into the students and with such a high number of them, the money spent correlated with this.
When asked if the school would be better off under the Government's school donation scheme, he said absolutely, as they only charged a small amount and only had around a 50 per cent pay rate.
He confirmed school camps and activities would not be in jeopardy as he believed they were an integral part of the school curriculum, but said schools were not in a position to fully fund them alone.
Under the current system, schools cannot charge fees for the delivery of the curriculum. Therefore if a camp was part of a school's curriculum then it cannot charge a compulsory fee but may request a donation, Casey said.
Rotorua Boys' High School was highlighted in the data as one of the biggest and highest spending schools in Rotorua in 2017, with 958 students and $9.9m spent.
Interestingly, Tauranga Intermediate had 300 more students than Rotorua Boys' High but spent almost $1.5m less.
Rotorua Boys' High principal Chris Grinter said some of this extra spending came down to the large hostel on site where a number of students boarded at the school.
He said the school would be happy to take up the Government offer, as only around 60 per cent of families made the $160 voluntary contribution.
One of the higher spending primary schools in Rotorua was Selwyn School, that had 461 pupils and spent just over $3m in 2017.
Principal of the decile one school Peter Barker said it came down to investing in the children of today.
He said he was thrilled with the new Government scheme, as the school did not currently ask for parental donations.
When asked why he said it was because parental donations created "divisions" in the school with a lot of pupils noticing "haves and have nots".
The school provided digital devices and stationery for pupils and when it came to school camps, loads of fundraising was done so there was never any question of financial inequality.
The Education (School Donations) Amendment Bill is currently before Parliament and the ministry's guidelines on this would be updated to reflect any and all final decisions made on the Bill, Casey said.
All the data was provided to the New Zealand Herald by the Ministry of Education under the Official Information Act. As not all schools report their spending in exactly the same way some differences between schools were due to accounting practices.