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Tolley: Budget Boost For Education Priorities

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tolley: Budget Boost For Education Priorities

28 May 2009 - The Government has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening the ladder of opportunity by allocating $1.68 billion to improving front-line education services in the current year and over the next four years.

"Budget 2009 builds on investments in early childhood, schools and tertiary education and is the first step in realising the Government's commitment to increase frontline education funding over time," Education Minister Anne Tolley says.

"It demonstrates the Government's willingness to carefully prioritise education funding so that dollars are spent where they will make the biggest difference for children, students and families." Highlights of the package include:

$523.3 million in operating and capital funding over four years to support a 21st Century School Building Programme to expand and future-proof existing schools and build new ones. Additional frontline funding for raising achievement in our schools including $80.1 million in additional funding for day-to-day school operations; $36 million to support the Crusade for Literacy and Numeracy; $16 million to fight truancy; and $34 million to improve schools access to high-speed broadband. Additional funding to improve the education of students with special needs and behavioural issues including $51 million extra for Ongoing Reviewable Resourcing Schemes and $8 million to help manage disruptive pupils. $69.7 million for improving access to early childhood education (ECE) by expanding 20 hours ECE to playcentres and kohanga reo and removing the six-hour daily limit. "Budget 2009 also secures funding for several significant cost pressures that were not funded by the previous Government," Mrs Tolley says.

This includes $169.1 million in 2009/2010 to pay increases in teacher salaries; $70 million over four years to cover salary increases for school caretakers, cleaners and ground staff; and $127 million to inflation-adjust funding for tertiary institutions from 2010.

"Of the $1.34 billion operating and $339.6 million in capital spending allocated to education in this Budget between 2008/09 and 2012/13, $661.8 million has been funded through careful reprioritisation of the previous Government's plans," Mrs Tolley says.

"Our focus has been on getting maximum value for education dollars. Savings have been achieved by reducing the amount of money tied up in the bureaucracy, reducing expenditure in lower-value areas such as community education hobby courses and postponing some initiatives until economic conditions improve.

"Budget 2009 is a significant step in the government's drive to strengthen the ladder of opportunity and raise education standards. I have high expectations for every child and equally high expectations for the quality of education spending," Mrs Tolley says.

New initiatives, combined with a forecast rise in the number of students, mean total Vote Education spending will rise from $10.5 billion in 2008/2009 to $10.8 billion in 2009/2010.

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