More than 500 principals sign open letter to Government 

28 May 2017

More than 500 school principals from throughout New Zealand have signed an open letter to the Government asking for the funding needed to pay support staff like teacher aides more.

The open letter was published in a national newspaper today.

“This is an unprecedented show of solidarity for the support staff who do such important work for the children of New Zealand," said Lynda Stuart, President of NZEI Te Riu Roa and on leave from her role as principal of May Road school in Auckland.

“This demonstrates the extent of principals' concern for the teacher aides, librarians, administrators and others who are the lifeblood of schools and yet remain some of the lowest-paid people in New Zealand.

“We've signed this letter because we are extremely concerned about the impact that very low wages and low job security are having on our essential support staff and the follow on effect this has on our students.

“Support staff are in pay negotiations with the Ministry now and we principals firmly back their calls for a pay rise.

“But unless schools are funded to cover any pay increase many of us will feel we have no option other than to cut back on learning resources or cut the hours of teacher aides to afford their higher rates of pay.

"Children shouldn't lose time with teacher aides, or lose other resources because the Government isn't funding schools to cover the basics.

“Support staff are paid out of school operations grants, which were frozen by the Government last year. Principals were hoping for a big funding jolt in last week's budget but the grant was only increased by 1.3 percent leaving us with no additional funding to meet extra staffing costs or any additional needs.

“Analysis of the budget by Victoria University and the NZ Institute of Economic Research shows that real, per child funding for education is dropping by 1.6 percent this year, and the Government is budgeting for a major decrease over the next few years.

“We believe New Zealand can afford to provide all our children with the best education in the world. But this will not be possible unless the Government funds education properly,” Ms Stuart said.

The letter and names of principals who've signed it can be found here :

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