by Greta Yeoman
Annual funding for South and Mid Canterbury schools, kindergartens and community-based early childhood centres has increased.
The Community Trust of Mid and South Canterbury’s annual Principals Discretionary Fund grants were distributed at the end of May to education centres across the region.
The total amount of funding was increased to $228,737 from $190,727 in 2018.
Trust chief executive Liz Shea said she was “thrilled” to announce the increase in financial support.
“The needs-based distribution of the available funding is therefore at the entire discretion of these community leaders.”
This meant individual school pupils could receive assistance for uniforms, meals, stationery or field trips, while other schools might use the funding for additional teacher aide support or resources for one or many children, Mrs Shea said.
“The community trust deeply values the knowledge and relationships held by local principals and centre managers.”
The trustees had decided to increase the funding in recognition of the ever-growing number of challenges facing communities, the increasing cost of living and the importance of removing barriers to participation, she said.
There was a 62% increase in funding per pupil for decile 1-4 schools, a 42% increase in funding per pupil for decile 5 schools, and smaller increases for the higher-decile schools.
It is just another supportive scheme on a local level, preceding changes announced by the Government last month.
These include scrapping the fees to sit NCEA exams, removing “voluntary” donations for lower-decile schools and increasing funding for learning support.
However, working conditions of those in education are still in the spotlight after last week’s national teachers’ strike and announcements of further strikes planned.
At the time of The Courier‘s deadline, teachers’ unions had proposed both regional strikes and rolling strikes, meaning teachers would decline to teach a particular year level across several days.
However, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced he would hold a meeting with the leaders of the New Zealand Educational Institute and Post-Primary Teachers’ Association unions to work through the situation.
The meeting, which would also include Ministry of Education representatives, was set to be held last Thursday.