North Shore Times : February 2nd 2016
Extra effort aids charity P3 Shore battle in final P20 North Shore Times Tuesday, February 2, 2016 YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Rangitoto College principal David Hodge says donations are necessary to provide what’s expected. PHOTO: ZIZI SPARKS/FAIRFAX NZ Donations vital, say principals ZIZI SPARKS Limited government funding means schools can’t meet education expectations without donations, says the principal of the largest secondary school in the country. Rangitoto College’s David Hodge says donations are necessary to pay for many things parents would expect a school to provide. According to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Education, Rangitoto College received the fifth highest amount of donations among state schools since 2000. But Hodge says that doesn’t account for the number of students the school provides for. He says for example the gov- ernment gives the college only $6500 a year to maintain the grounds and site including gardens, courts, fields and roads on the 79 acre property. ‘‘It would be nice if every parent felt they should contribute because the money is spent on core business of the school,’’ he says. ‘‘I get the myth of the education being free has been propagated by political parties for a very, very long time but it just doesn’t bear out in reality and it’s getting very, very difficult.’’ Long Bay College’s principal Russell Brooke says it’s a struggle to compete with other state schools without parent contributions. ‘‘The government offers basic education but most of our community expects more,’’ Brooke says. ‘‘If we went back to providing basics parents and children would leave our school.’’ He says Long Bay College funds more than half its operating costs and it may be time for a discussion about making donations compulsory. Education Minister Hekia Parata says the $10.8 billion the government plans to spend on education this year is more than it spends on police, defence, roads and foreign affairs combined and she has no plans to make donations compulsory. Patrick Walsh of the Principals Association of New Zealand says the notion of a free education should be abandoned. ‘‘I think the basic principle is you undertake a study ... of what it costs to actually run a school, all the operational costs including staffing, and you either fund it to the level it actually costs, or you say the pie isn’t big enough to support that and we will now allow schools to charge parents for some of the services.’’ Walsh says schools should be able to demand parents pay donations to give students a high quality education.
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