We all have personal experience of the schooling system and therefore known the life changing difference a passionate, well qualified and competent teacher can make to our education, sense of self worth and future directions in life.
We also know first hand that teachers in New Zealand go the extra mile as coaches, camp leaders, after school tutors and that they regularly work through their lunchtimes and school holidays.
Teachers at John Paul College are no exception.
In recent times teachers have also had to take on the role of substitute parent, counsellor and in some cases, provide breakfast and referee students with anger management problems.
The above is all in addition to their core business of planning, teaching and marking which, with NCEA, is no mean feat.
In relation to the "pay and conditions" of teachers, we have relied on their goodwill and professionalism for the last nine years as their salaries have eroded. The net result of this has been a looming crisis which has now come home to roost.
Applications for teacher training have dropped by 40 per cent, record numbers of beginning teachers are leaving the profession.
In essential subjects such as science, mathematics, technology and senior English, schools often have no applicants, or a very poor field to select from.
A large number of teachers are due to retire in the next five years with no national succession plan.
I have just finished interviewing all of the Year 13 students, in part to determine their destination in 2019.
Of the 170 students only three indicated a desire to become teachers.
At John Paul College they are very grateful for what their teachers have done for them but they have seen first hand the workload and stress they are under and don't want that for themselves.
They also know that other professions and occupations that require a degree will offer far superior salaries and work conditions. The status of teaching in New Zealand is at a low ebb.
I am in awe of the fantastic job teachers do at JPC and nationally I wish to share with you as parents who have a vested interest in the education system that unless there is a serious correction to their pay and conditions the future of our children's education will be seriously compromised as well as our ability to remain a first world economy.
It's not my intention to make a political statement but the situation is the worst I have seen in nearly 15 years as a principal.
The worth we attach to our teachers reflects directly the value we place on our children's education.
They are our greatest taonga and therefore those who educate and care for them deserve better.
Principal, John Paul College
How do you rate your council? On June 8 2017, the Daily Post quoted the council; "Ratepayers can expect 3.8 per cent rates increase for the 2018/2019 year. Rotorua's urban ratepayers are likely to pay an additional 4.1 per cent on their average rates bill for the coming year".
The proposed increase comes on top of the 6-8 per cent average rise for urban residents in 2015 and a 2-2.2 per cent average rise in the last year.
On Saturday, March 10 it is announced "the average rates rise for residential properties will be 7.86 per cent". That is more than double what they indicated last year, and around the same as the one-off increase in 2015, which we were promised was a "one-off".
I then noted a separate skate park in Kuirau Park has been tagged with a $2 million budget?
What? Is that in addition to the proposed $2m skatepark on the corner of Ranolf and Pererika St?
I thought we'd established the difference between good debt and bad debt?
The council is skating on thin ice. Ratepayers can't sustain an additional $481 million in the next 10 years, on top of the current $174m debt?
At council's low rate of 4 per cent interest that will be $26m ratepayers will
pay in interest on debt annually, without taking into account any interest rate increases. Rotorua deserves more than false promises on "prudent financial management" as recently touted in Rotorua Tatau Tatau.
Where's the enterprise to increase revenue and decrease moon beam expenditure? Time to be realistic - Beam them up Scotty!