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Botched contract leads to charter school rort

A botched Government contract has allowed an Auckland charter school to double dip by getting funding for students it has accommodated for free, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Information received by Labour through written Parliamentary questions show the Ministry of Education failed to check whether the Villa Education Trust had enough room to house the 160 students it is being funded for at the new Middle School West Auckland.

“The Glendene charter school has been teaching some of its students at a Henderson school site owned by the Ministry. It has yet to pay the Government any rent for this arrangement.

“The Trust running this school has received $100,000 to renovate its premises as part of a $1 million establishment payment and has asked for another $300,000 to complete the revamps.

“This is clearly a rort. The Villa Education Trust received taxpayer money to set-up a school and now they’re effectively double-dipping by using Ministry premises.

“Why on earth did Education Minister Hekia Parata sign a contract guaranteeing the Villa Trust funding for 160 students when they clearly don’t have the capacity to house that many kids? This is yet another example of her utter incompetence.

“These kind of rorts are one of the big risks with the charter school model which Labour has consistently opposed. We believe this funding should go towards supporting the thousands of kids attending existing public schools who need help to succeed.

“The Middle School West Auckland case is an unnecessary money-go-round in which the taxpayer is the loser,” Chris Hipkins says.