Rural school funds worsen

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Relevant offers Rural schools in the Nelson region are facing financial struggles, with two principals describing the government funding system as 'archaic.' Golden Bay High School principal Roger File said government funding for ICT provision and support staff in particular, was 'woefully inadequate' and the system 'penalises small schools in rural communities.' The school, which has 316 students, raises 30% of its income locally. That amounted to $290,000 in 2007. However, Education Minister Ann Tolley said the Government had no plans to change the secondary schools funding formula and that it was 'quite normal' for schools to raise funds locally.

Golden Bay High School has also suffered another financial setback with the loss of international students from its sister school, Kun-ei Girls' High School in Japan, where the world recession has forced that school to cut back its international programmes. The school is one of many to use international students' fees to supplement its income. The fees make up 10% of the locally raised funds. File said the school would need to go on a major fundraising drive this year to supplement government funding. While funding issues had always been difficult, the school had now been forced to cut back on teacher-aide hours since support workers were awarded a pay increase. 'They deserve that pay increase but we have not been given the equivalent increase [in funding],' said File. The issue was highlighted in the most recent issue of the school newsletter, Goldie, in which File also appealed to parents to pay activities and curriculum donations to reduce the level of deficit.

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