- Last Updated: 07 September 2016
More on the Funding Review
There have been two meetings of the funding review group this month so far. However, our initial concerns about the ministry’s focus on redistribution of current funding in ways that make its own job simpler (but may not necessarily assist schools) and the potential increase in workload and responsibility for boards and principals, have not been assuaged.
Principals’ Funding Review Group Meeting
On the 19th of August members of SPC met with other principals in Wellington to go through the elements of the ministry’s proposals.
The area currently covered by decile is covered in the section on Funding to support children and young people most at risk of educational under-achievement. While there is no argument that it’s well worth aiming for a more targeted and accurate model that is less susceptible to misuse just what any new model might look like is still up for debate.
Certainly there is real interest in using a different set of indicators of educational risk and that section in the Ministry papers is well worth reading. For me, if all this ends up doing is calculating need and distributing the existing funds in somewhat different ways, not a great deal will have been achieved. I believe that to really address the needs of those students most at risk, there needs to be quantum shift in the funding.
Finally, it is the School Global Budget Concept that really has many different groups concerned. The proposal is that schools would get an annual government funding amount – the Global Budget. From that budget schools would have to meet all their operational costs, including teaching salaries.
It is proposed to pay salaries in the form of a credit based on a notional average rate. Schools would decide how many teachers they were going to have (or more likely could afford) and the ministry would pay the actual salary and debit the school budget at a notional average rate.
It differs from the previous incarnation of bulk funding in that there is no incentive to employ teachers lower down the salary scale as the Ministry wants to avoid the situation of schools not being able to afford experienced teachers. However, many will be concerned that there is an incentive to not use all your staffing allocation because the unused funds can be budgeted from the start of the year for other purposes. As most secondary schools already employ more teachers than the GMFS provides it’s hard to see how secondary schools would benefit from that flexibility.
Interestingly the Ministry are well aware that the proposal if implemented would place greater pressures on school’s capabilities around budgeting and financial oversight than is the case currently and would require them to provide more support.
Any changes that do come out of the review will not occur until 2020 [when the next decile review would occur] so it is to be hoped that the time frame allows full consultation, careful modelling of likely impacts and sensible decisions to be made.