Changes in­evitable in wake of decile change

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By PETRICE TAR­RANT

He was drenched in kerosene and threat­ened with a lighter but dairy owner Dev Patal re­fused to give up his hard-earned cash.

Ear­lier this month Patal won a bat­tle against a rob­ber who en­tered the Kelso Street Su­perette and Lotto de­mand­ing money.

It was just after 6pm on a Satur­day night and the shop was quiet.

Patal was dis­cussing the Mo­bil Aotea rob­bery from the pre­vi­ous night with his brother-in-law.

‘‘I told him to be care­ful of new faces.’’

All of a sud­den a hooded man with a ban­danna over his face ran into the store.

Be­fore Patal knew it, the pair of shop­keep­ers were both soiled in about two litres of kerosene.

But be­ing a ‘‘fighter’’ from his life in In­dia he was not ready to give in.

‘‘I went over and grabbed my tom­a­hawk . . . I tried to hit him ... and my brother- in- law punched him.’’

Lol­lies and chip pack­ets were fly­ing around as the three fought it out in a minute-long scuf­fle.

‘‘ Then he was lay­ing on the ground and I held his arm and he held his neck.’’

While wait­ing for po­lice to ar­rive, mem­bers of the pub­lic had walked in on the al­ter­ca­tion.

One man had stopped on his trav­els after Patal’s wife called for help.

‘‘He said, ‘what can I do’, I said ‘hold his legs’,’’ Patal said.

He re­called the man beg­ging to be let go with tears stream­ing down his face.

‘‘If I let him go, he can hurt again.’’

In the three years the cou­ple has owned the dairy there had been one other at­tempted rob­bery.

But the cul­prits seem hard­pressed to es­cape Patal who is not afraid to fight for his rights.

‘‘We are work­ing 365 days of the year, we have no so­cial life, it’s hard to pay my loan off . . . we have no kids. How can I af­ford to give money away when I can’t af­ford kids?’’

Patal hoped to see the man put away.

‘‘If he gets off I’ll hire a lawyer . . . He tried to kill us, how can I leave him alone?’’

The cul­prit has since made an ap­pear­ance in the Toko­roa Dis­trict Court and is set to ap­pear again next month on the charge of rob­bery.

He is cur­rently be­ing as­sessed in the Henry Ron­go­mau Ben­nett Cen­tre. New decile rat­ings have sparked mixed in­ter­est from South Waikato prin­ci­pals as big money is be­ing cut or added to bud­gets as a re­sult.

Schools that have moved to a lower rat­ing will have an in­crease in fund­ing, while those that have gone higher face a re­duc­tion over 18 months.

The Min­istry has re­vealed about a third of 2406 schools will be bet­ter off, another third will have to tighten their belts and the re­main­der will be un­af­fected.

Toko­roa North School prin­ci­pal Stephen Blair said the $70,000 in­crease his school will re­ceive has been a long time com­ing.

The school, with a roll of 495, dropped three decile rat­ings from 4J to 3G (each rat­ing has three lev­els within it), tak­ing their an­nual Tar­get Fund­ing for Ed­u­ca­tional Achieve­ment per stu­dent from $179.16 to $343.38.

Blair, who is is com­ing up on 20 years as prin­ci­pal, said the in­creased fund­ing is an ac­cu­rate re­flec­tion of the strug­gles faced by the com­mu­nity.

‘‘Eq­uity is about chil­dren get­ting what they need, not about ev­ery­one get­ting the same.’’

He said the rat­ing sys­tem was ‘‘ fair’’ and those fac­ing cuts needed to ac­cept it just as North School did after the 2007 cen­sus.

‘‘ Seven years ago our decile rat­ing went up and we lost $40,000 overnight, lit­er­ally.’’

He said they never chal­lenged the drop un­til two years ago, after the 2011 cen­sus was missed.

‘‘ Can­celling that last cen­sus was bad news.

‘‘Some of the cries from schools that went up were just be­cause seven years is a long time,’’ he said.

The school is look­ing at three main ar­eas to invest the ex­tra fund­ing in­clud­ing the pro­vi­sion of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, fur­ther sub­si­dis­ing school trips and camps and spe­cial needs re­sources.

Mean­while, schools such as Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere are fac­ing cuts.

Prin­ci­pal Keith Sil­veira said his school will lose about 10 per cent of its decile fund­ing after its rat­ing in­creased from 1 to 2.

‘‘ I’m not sure whether our board will chal­lenge that, how­ever we see it as an in­di­ca­tion that a large num­ber of our par­ents are in em­ploy­ment and real es­tate within our school zone has gone up in value.’’

He saw it as a ‘‘pos­i­tive’’ re­sult for the South Waikato and Pu­taruru in par­tic­u­lar.

Pu­taruru Col­lege is fac­ing a $17,000 bud­get cut after mov­ing from a decile 3 rat­ing to 4 but prin­ci­pal Mike Ronke said the school will chal­lenge the change.

‘‘We haven’t see any ap­pre­cia­ble change in the com­mu­nity of our kids.’’

He said mov­ing to a decile rat­ing of 4 will likely threaten the school’s ac­cess to some of the re­sources they were en­ti­tled to as a decile 1 to 3 school.

By to­mor­row all schools should have had an in­di­ca­tion of the changes to their rat­ing.

Photo: PETRICE TAR­RANT

BUD­GET IN­CREASE: Toko­roa North School prin­ci­pal Stephen Blair said his school will re­ceive an ex­tra $70,000 per year after drop­ping one full decile rat­ing.

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