There are mixed emotions amongst Western Bay of Plenty teachers with good and bad news coming from the latest 2012 Budget announcement.
While most class sizes are set to increase, Western Bay of Plenty PPTA regional chair Graeme Bridge says good news from the budget is “that lower class sizes is being protected for Maori in Kura Kaupapa and Wharekura schools”.
“But bad news for everyone else in public education where schools are being forced to accept larger classes, staffing cuts and make do with a funding allocation that doesn’t even meet inflation.”
Education Minister Hekia Parata says ratios will remain as they are for new entrants at one to 15, and for students sitting NCEA in years 11-13, will be standardised at one to 17.3.
In the middle years from two to 10-year-olds she says there is currently a wide range of ratios, ranging from one to 23 to one to 29. The Government will standardise this ratio to 1:27.5.
Hekia says these changes will free up just over $43 million, on average, in each year in the next four years, which will be reinvested back into education.
“About 90 per cent of schools will either gain, or have a net loss of less than one Full Time Teacher Equivalent (FTTEs) as a result of the combined effect of the ratio changes and projected roll growth. These changes will take effect over the next five years.
“These more consistent ratios will give schools greater certainty over their resourcing from year to year.”
In the governments zeal to save dollars our students are the losers and the poorer for it, says Graeme.
“Instead of investing in education, we have a government stripping away money from schools that really can’t afford to lose it.
“Changes in the funding formula for staffing will see teachers losing their jobs because there simply isn’t enough money in the pot and Boards of Trustees unable to carry the short fall in funding as they have been doing in a number of schools.”
Graeme says the report card on this budget “really is a zero”.