Fund­ing switch wel­comed

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

A CHANGE in govern­ment fund­ing is set to help ease mount­ing ten­sions caused by packed in­ner-city class­rooms.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Hekia Parata has an­nounced that schools who have out-of-zone chil­dren at­tend­ing se­lected spe­cial pro­grammes may now be en­ti­tled to roll growth fund­ing.

Gen­er­ally schools do not at­tract prop­erty roll growth fund­ing for out-of-zone chil­dren.

The an­nounce­ment is a huge re­lief for schools such as Rich­mond Road School, which of­fers pop­u­lar French, Samoan and Maori lan­guage pro­grammes.

The school is burst­ing at the seams as it at­tracts stu­dents from wider Auck­land who can­not find sim­i­lar pro­grammes in their own neigh­bour­hoods.

On top of this, it has been deal­ing with in­tense pop­u­la­tion growth af­fect­ing the re­gion, prin­ci­pal Stephanie Anich says.

‘‘Across the school prob­a­bly 45 per cent would be out-of-zone chil­dren.

‘‘So there was no wrig­gle room at all re­ally,’’ Ms Anich says.

‘‘We had just come to the crunch of no new build­ing spa­ces, no money to build, no pol­icy that would trap that build­ing money,’’ she says.

Ms Anich says the squeeze cre­ated un­der­stand­able ten­sion be­tween in-zone and out-of-zone fam­i­lies.

But the pol­icy change means el­i­gi­ble schools will now be able to at­tract fund­ing to build new class­rooms, Auck­land Cen­tral MP Nikki Kaye says. She says she fought for the pol­icy changes as they are likely to ben­e­fit sev­eral schools in her elec­torate – Rich­mond Road School, Free­mans Bay School, New­ton Cen­tral School, West­mere School and Western Springs Col­lege.

But Ms Kaye stresses that she stepped out of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing as as­so­ci­ate min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion to avoid any con­flict of in­ter­est.

‘‘Prob­a­bly what made me pas­sion­ate about this is that these guys are pro­vid­ing some of the best bilin­gual pro­grammes in the coun­try and I just felt we had to change the sys­tem, be­cause it was a dis­in­cen­tive for these amaz­ing pro­grammes to con­tinue.’’

Chair­man for the In­ner City Prin­ci­pals Group Bill Barker says they are grate­ful for the sup­port of­fered by the min­is­ter to im­ple­ment these long-awaited changes.

‘‘It is fan­tas­tic news,’’ Mr Barker says.

‘‘This means boards no longer have to sub­sidise spe­cial pro­grammes for prop­erty out of their op­er­a­tional fund­ing.’’

In her an­nounce­ment Ms Parata noted that Auck­land and Christchurch have been mostly af­fected by high de­mand for spe­cial pro­grammes and will be the first to ben­e­fit from the new fund­ing rules.

‘‘De­mand for spe­cial pro­grammes will con­tinue to grow over time, par­tic­u­larly in the eth­ni­cally di­verse ar­eas of Auck­land,’’ Ms Parata says.

Stu­dents el­i­gi­ble for en­try into the spe­cial pro­gramme who live in the home zone will still be given pri­or­ity.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Mo’ money: MP for Cen­tral Auck­land Nikki Kaye and Rich­mond Road School prin­ci­pal Stephanie Anich dis­cuss how fund­ing changes could ben­e­fit the school.

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