Nayland College principal Daniel Wilson says schools wouldn’t be able to provide a quality education without donations. Photo: Andrew Board.

Nelson school spending revealed

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New school spending data reveals the “huge” funding gap between what is provided by the Government and what is required by schools to operate a modern curriculum, a Nelson principal says.

The data, released under the Official Information Act, comes from spending details for every Government-funded school in New Zealand in 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available.

The Nelson data over the past five years show the biggest increase in spending comes from Nelson College for Girls, whose spending went from $10.4 million in 2012 to $12.2 million in 2017, a $1.8 million increase. However, principal Cathy Ewing says that rise is partially due to its Preparatory School and Young Parents’ School not being accounted for until after 2012.

Nelson College went from $12.9 – $13.9 million, Nayland College from $10.3 – $11.2 million and Waimea College from $12.8 – $14.2 million.

Nayland College principal Daniel Wilson says the data shows that there is a “huge” funding gap between what is provided by the government and what is required from schools to operate a modern curriculum.

“Nayland College, like most large high schools, relies on international student fees and locally raised funds in order to provide more than just the bare necessities. Without this income we would have much larger class sizes, have only the minimum of equipment such as digital devices and we would not be able to subsidise capital projects.”

Nelson College acting headmaster Tim Tucker says the increase in their expenditure reflects the growth rate in the school roll, as well as general rising costs.

Waimea College principal Scott Haines also says their increase in spending during this period directly reflects the college’s response to their growing roll.

School spending has been a controversial topic since May’s Budget announcement, when the Government announced that, from next year, decile 1 to 7 schools that did not ask parents for voluntary donations would receive $150 per student in additional funding.

Nayland College is decile 6, Nelson College and Nelson College for Girls are both decile 7 and Waimea College is decile 8.

The data shows that Nayland College with a roll of 930, raised $110,044 locally in donations – 1 percent of the total amount spent. Nelson College for Girls, with a roll of 1078, raised $104,014 locally from donations – 0.9 percent of the total amount spent. Waimea College, with a roll of 1573, raised $172,486 locally from donations – 1.2 percent of the total amount spent.

Daniel Wilson says they will be worse off if they agree to drop parent donations in exchange for the $150 payment.

“I have major concerns over the additional payment. We have calculated we would lose about $100k in funding by opting into the new model. In order to gain this funding, we will have to remove curriculum opportunities such as outdoor education, geography and history field trips as we currently ask parents for a contribution towards these activities,” he says.

“Ultimately, the students will miss out.”

– with NZ Herald