INDEPENDENT NEWS

Southland Schools Shafted By Policy Change

Published: Fri 14 Dec 2001 04:20 PM
Southland Schools Shafted By Education Policy Change
Rural Southland schools are being hammered by a change in Government education policy, according to National leader and Clutha-Southland MP Bill English.
The Government is replacing the Targeted Rural Funding scheme with a new Targeted Funding for Isolation. The scheme was designed to help isolated schools meet their costs, yet nine rural Southland schools will be losing a total of $170,000 next year.
"None of these schools are close to urban areas, and they face high costs such as toll calls, freight, and transport. Yet somehow this new formula means major cuts in funding, putting even more pressure on schools and their local communities.
"Local schools pointed out the weaknesses in the new formula right from the start, but were ignored by Government bureaucrats. Now we are seeing the impact of the Government's policy."
Among the schools affected, Menzies College loses $30,000, Tokomairiro High School $27,000, and Aparima College $26,000.
"Our other small secondary schools like Northern Southland College need more support.
Mr English says this new funding scheme is yet another burden for local schools already suffering from other policy changes. "The new policy for redeployed surplus staff and the Industrial Relations Agreement have all put more demands upon already struggling schools".
Mr English says he is continuing to pressure Education Minister Trevor Mallard for an explanation of why Southland schools are missing out.
Ends

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