Area schools say they need more funding to help provide primary and secondary education to children in rural communities.
About 90 area school staff and trustees are attending a two-day Area Schools Association conference in Wellington from Thursday.
The schools cater for new entrants through to those finishing secondary school and get extra funding because of their isolation.
However, principals say it does not go far. They say their schools also need better funding for teaching specialist subjects to small groups of secondary students.
The association says most of their members will not benefit from new government spending on area and composite schools with more than 750 students.