Those working on the front lines of Rotorua's early childhood, primary and secondary schools hope to see more money allocated to the education sector in next week's Budget.
But what that money is set aside for is just as, if not more, important.
Earlier this month, Education Minister Chris Hipkins made a pre-budget announcement revealing the Government had set aside $95 million to boost the number of teachers.
More than 2400 additional trainee places will be funded through increased scholarships and placements, new employment-based teacher education programmes, and iwi-based scholarships.
Another 800 will be funded through grants and the expansion of a voluntary bonding scheme.
But is that what local teachers want?
Speaking ahead of the Government's 2019 Budget, educators told the
Rotorua Daily Post
their wishlists included better teacher to student ratios, more money for operational costs and special needs funding.
NZEI Rotorua branch manager Joanne Collyer wants to see reduced staff ratios and increased funding for special needs separate from the operations grant.
"I also believe we need a significant workload decrease or more classroom release time to cope with the massive workload.
"Our original request for a pay rise of 8 per cent this year and 8 per cent next year seems fair with the serious recruitment issues the education sector is facing. I don't think $95 million spent on getting overseas teachers is practical. Teaching needs to be an attractive vocation."
Early childhood educator and The Ole Schoolhouse owner Eric Hollis said he hoped the Government would follow through on strategic plan recommendations for the sector.
In particular, he hoped to see an increase in funding to allow teacher to children ratios to drop from one teacher to 10, 2-year-olds to one to five.
"There wouldn't be an early childhood teacher in New Zealand who wouldn't agree 2-year-olds need the most help.
"At that age, children need that close, interactive engagement and social learning but we can't do that if we don't have the funding.
"I think teacher to children ratios are the most urgent changes needed and with that comes the need for additional staffing."
Ngongotaha Early Learning Centre manager Heather Brake said operational funding increases would help alleviate pressures on individual centres' budgets.
"It would be really good to see a funding increase for early childhood centres that could then go towards paying our teachers more.
"All our costs, things like food, have gone up and that's putting our budget under pressure. Without a funding increase, we are faced with putting our fees up."
Brake said more government funding to support special needs learning was also needed.
"We have a child with special learning needs who gets a funded teacher aide seven hours a week but the child is with us for 40 hours a week so we have to have extra teachers on to fill that gap."
John Paul College acting principal Maree Stewart said the Budget needed to contain more support for teachers to allow them to effectively teach all types of learners.
She also hoped for an increase in schools' operational grants to at least meet inflation.