The Budget boost to education has been dubbed as "vast improvement" for a Tauranga primary school currently struggling with financial woes.
Thursday's Budget included an extra $1.6 billion over the next four years in operating funding and $334m in capital funding to address rising demand, fund 1500 more teachers and raise teacher-aide funding.
Greerton Village School principal Anne Mackintosh hoped the Budget boost would relieve the school's struggles under increasing financial pressure. Mackintosh told the Bay of Plenty Times the funding model meant to help with its large number of high-needs students was "broken".
"It is a start. I mean it will never be enough but it certainly is a vast improvement. It is very encouraging, it is a step in the right direction," she said.
"It depends when it [the budget] is initiated whether it will be in time to help us in our current situation," she said.
Mackintosh said the $370m to fund 1500 new teacher places by 2021 was also encouraging to help ease the "desperate need" for teachers.
A total of $272m was also announced for learning support such as teacher aides, Ongoing Resource Scheme (ORS) and early intervention.
Business consultant and parent Erika Harvey's seven-year-old autistic daughter attends Greerton Village School and was pleased the Budget included an extra 10 per cent in ORS funding.
However, Harvey was concerned how the $272m was allocated and hoped there were major structural changes being made to support children's learning to broaden the criteria.
Harvey had written an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about funding woes at the school and will meet education representatives at the school next week.
Te Puke mother-of-three Monique Lints was pleased to see funding put into crucial services that were important in providing children a better future.
"Especially being a mother of a special needs child it is good to know I can send him off to school and know he is going to be taken care of," she said.
The Ministry funding rate for teacher aides will increase from an hourly rate of $16-$18 in 2019/2020 to $20 an hour by 2022.
Associate Minister for education Tracey Martin said the additional amount will bring the government contribution up to at least the minimum wage and reduces the pressure on schools.
Inspired Kindergartens principal Peter Monteith would have liked to see a bigger increase in "backline funding" for early education centres.
Monteith said the government had signalled an additional 1500 teachers for schools, but nothing to address the critical shortage of qualified teachers in the early childhood sector.
Monteith's said if three new centres were to be built in Tauranga "we could fill them".
Additional reporting NZME
BUDGET 2018: EDUCATION
• $1.6 billion more in operating funding and $334 million in capital funding.
• Education budget will be $12.26b, up from $11.85b last year.
• $395m to build new schools and classrooms. Includes $62m for Christchurch schools rebuild and $332m nationwide.
• $204m for a 1.6 per cent increase to schools' operational funding and to cover school roll growth.
• $370m to fund 1500 new teacher places by 2021 ($70m more than National funded).
• Early childhood education: $590m to fund more places and a 1.6 per cent funding increase for ECE centres from January 2019.
• $272.8m for learning support such as teacher aides, ORS and early intervention.
Erika & Dan Harvey
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