16 May 2013

Cuts and increases for schools, early childhood

8:17 pm on 16 May 2013

Some $300 million has been cut from school and early childhood spending over the next four years but the Budget reallocates this within Vote Education, along with $700 million of new spending.

However, a big chunk of that money - $164 million - is being used to cover the cost of abandoning the Government's class size policy in 2012.

The biggest increases are $80.5 million over four years to pay for an expected increase in the number of children enrolled in early childhood education and $79 million for a 1.9% increase in school operations grants.

Partnership schools, also known as charter schools, have been allocated a contingency fund of $19 million to set up the first of the schools.

Early childhood services get a funding increase of 2% but only to the non-salary portion of their subsidies, which will cost the Government $39 million over four years.

There will also be an extra $41 million over four years in equity funding that pays early childhood services for the enrolment of the most vulnerable children.

The Budget commits $37.5 million over four years to pay for more training and support for school teachers, and $12 million to support and retain teachers in Maori immersion education.

There is $92 million for the renewal of schools and early childhood education in Christchurch and $73 million for schools' property costs.

The $300 million cuts include $70 million from scholarships for teacher trainees and $30 million from early childhood grants and study awards.

The Budget includes capital funding of $134 million over the next four years to pay for modern learning environments for schools. The money is a contingency that will be drawn down later this year as the Government makes decisions.

It also includes previously announced spending of $64 million over four years to improve the behaviour of school students and $14.5 million to support school trustees.