Bulk funding plan queried

Otago principals are on edge after documents show the Treasury has indicated a preference for bulk funding in New Zealand schools.

It was revealed in documents released under the Official Information Act to the Wellington Wairarapa School Trustees Association that the Treasury planned radical workplace reform in education, including bulk funding of teachers' salaries.

Otago Secondary Principals' Association president Brent Russell questioned who was running New Zealand's education system.

He said the Government did not have a mandate to introduce bulk funding, and after experiencing the threat of bulk funding in the 1990s, he said he would ''certainly not want a repeat of that experience''.

''Who is running our education system - Treasury or the Ministry of Education?''Perhaps the time is right to consider an Education Commission for New Zealand, that has the general support of all stakeholders including parents, teachers, students, boards of trustees and the major political parties.''

Wellington Wairarapa School Trustees Association chairman Chris Toa said bulk funding risked yet another nail in the coffin of public schooling in New Zealand.

He believed boards of trustees under financial pressure would find themselves considering the cost of employing a teacher over the quality or experience of that teacher.

''Salaries funded in the present system mean that even the schools facing the most challenges amongst their student body can attract, and pay for, the very best of the teaching community.

''It creates a degree of equity that bulk funding would destroy.''


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