Signatures to support Better Funding campaign
View Road School presented three pages of signatures to The Better Funding, Better Learning Heartland Tour last Wednesday, when the colourful campervan rolled into Waiuku.
The Better Funding, Better Learning Heartland Tour was launched in February, and is the next phase in the historic, joint campaign by educators from both the PPTA and Te Riu Roa NZEI, which last year defeated plans to introduce bulk funding in schools.

Core funding for many schools has been frozen this year, leaving millions of dollars less for children's education when inflation is taken into account. Already, schools are planning to cut back on teacher aide and support staff hours this year, or to increase parent donations to cope with the funding crunch.

The NZEI Heartland Tour called through Franklin last week, and visited View Road School, Aka Aka and Pukekohe Hill School, to help raise awareness and to encourage communities to come together to help restore funding for early childhood and increase funding for schools.
"The Government is being lobbied to lift funding freeze to allow schools to better pay their support staff, and increase hours and opportunities for struggling learners. Currently Schools are funded through a bulk grant (operations grant) and the spending
decisions a school needs to make often comes down to affordability – 'the electric bill or a teaching assistant?' scenario," says View Road School Principal, Cris Hull.
Ms Hull explained that school leaders know that funding support staff differently would allow greater access and better outcomes for their learners.
"But not all the public understand the choices schools are forced to make. Support staff are often paid just slightly more than a
minimum wage and have poor contracts which are often negotiated term to term, meaning they have little or no job security, and are paid minimally to do a really important job."
A member of View Road School's Board of Trustees, Emma Holmes, took on the initiative to back the campaign by asking local parents if they wanted to support
the support staff by signing the petition. Three pages later, and the signatures on the Better Funding petition were formally handed over to NZEI field officer, Heather Holmes.
"By the end of this campaign, we hope to have around 50,000 signatures to present to the Ministry of Education. The tour is going out to our rural areas now, with the hope of empowering people to have these conversations about our support. We need to educate more people about just how valuable school resource support staff are. At the end of the day, we only want the best for our children, and the lack of funding available for our staff will impact them directly."
For information on the campaign, visit www.nzei.org.nz
CAPTION: Steven Sinkovich (NZEI Field Officer), Heather Holmes (NZEI Field Officer), Emma Holmes (BOT View Road School), Cris Hull (Principal View Road School), Trish Holmes (Support Staff View Road School), Jennifer Foy (Support Staff View Road School), all supporting the Better Funding, Better Learning Heartland Tour.