Auditor General confirms principle of free education

3 May 2017

NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed the Auditor General’s finding that public schools may not request payments or donations in connection with applications for out-of-zone applications.

NZEI President Lynda Stuart said that while she had sympathy for the handful of schools involved, the inquiry reinforced the principle that public education should be free and equitable to access.

It was therefore not appropriate to ask for donations or payments from the families of prospective students.

“Handling scores or even hundreds of out-of-zone applications can be a considerable administrative burden for schools and it is an indication of the level of underfunding in our schools that some have tried to cover that cost through charges or requests for donations,” she said.

“Even once students are enrolled, full or partial payment of school donations is entirely voluntary. This does put schools in a difficult position though, as current operational grants are inadequate to cover the costs of providing the quality education New Zealanders expect of our schools.

“That’s why NZEI is campaigning for greater funding for our schools, including the nationwide event this week, in which MPs spent time with school support staff. Support staff shared their concerns about how underfunding was affecting their ability to meet the needs of every child, and the low pay and job insecurity they faced.” 

 


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