Parents pick up tab for Govt underfunding

At a time when many parents are struggling with the constantly increasing cost of living, John Key’s government is asking them to pay more and more for their children’s education too, Labour’s acting Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Government funding just isn’t keeping up with the rising cost of educating kids. As a result, schools are being forced to ask parents for more and more in the way of ‘donations’ and a lot of parents are struggling to meet these demands.

"In 2011 parents paid $103 million in school donations. That's a 38% jump since National took office. At a time when many families are struggling just to make ends meet, that's a big burden.

“I’ve seen reports of schools doubling the donations they ask for in recent years. If the Government doesn’t fund them adequately, they just have no choice.

“The National Government will claim that they’re increasing school funding, but in reality their increases barely cover inflation, and with schools being asked to provide more and more resources to kids, they’re just not keeping up.

“It’s all very well for John Key and Steven Joyce to boast about getting broadband to every school in the country. If they can’t afford the technology to make use of it and can’t afford to pay to use it, what good will it do?

"When in Opposition, Bill English was a vocal critic of the level of school donations parents were being asked to make. After four years in charge of the country's purse strings, he's made the problem worse.

“National’s underfunding of our schools is creating a huge divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in our education system. Schools in wealthier areas are able to gather 10 times the level of parental donations as Decile 1 schools.

“National has no problem finding extra money in their Budget to bail out private schools, and they’re willing to splash the cash around setting up new Charter Schools, but they’re not willing to fund our public schools adequately. That says everything about their priorities.

“Education is an investment in our future. National just sees it as another cost to be ‘contained’. Our kids deserve better,” Chris Hipkins says.