Principals keen for alternative to school donations

DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Awapuni School pupils working on a craft project last year. The school says a new promise by Labour would be beneficial.

A school donations election promise has Manawatu principals fizzing with approval. 

Among Labour’s 2017 election promises for education is a pledge to offer schools a trade – if the school does not ask parents for voluntary donations they receive an extra $150 funding per child.

For most schools the deal would leave them better off, leading Labour to confidently tout its policy as the end to voluntary donations for many parents.

Ross Intermediate School principal Wayne Jenkins said the idea was “the most sensible thing I have read in education policy for a long time”. 

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It would free up staff time previously spent administering donations, give schools more funds and leave families with one less financial drain. 

“As a school, we receive around $30,000 in donations from families.

“This would give us $75,000, and even better, would keep $30,000 of funds in our families’ pockets.” 

Palmerston North’s Awapuni Primary School is a decile 2 school – its pupils come from a community with the second poorest economic rating out of 10 – so principal Stephen Soutar said they would be quick to say yes. 

“We only have a $30 donation… less than half the parents paid. One-hundred-and-fifty dollars per child from the Government would make a drastic difference.”

Whakarongo School principal Jaco Broodryk said the school would seriously consider the offer, but felt it was not enough to meet schools’ needs.

“The main issue is not really donations or not, it is about the underfunding of schools. If schools were…

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