Bulk funding gives Charter schools an advantage but is bad for State schools

As I read the following article I was amused. In all the critical articles written about Charter schools they describe bulk funding as an advantage. They say that Charter schools having the flexibility to spend the money how they want to allows them to do things that State schools cannot do.  They can provide free uniforms for example, free breakfasts, free stationery and can pay the teachers more. This is actually criticised as it is seen as giving Charter schools an advantage over State schools.

Unlike State schools, Charter schools are not supplied by the government with buildings or swimming pools or playing fields. The money they get has to pay for all of that, as well as teacher salaries, yet they have still managed to pay their teachers the same or more than State schools and provide their students with access to buildings, swimming pools and playing fields. They make use of public facilities to get the biggest bang for their buck.

Now that bulk funding is being proposed for State schools it has magically been transformed into a bad thing and the critics of bulk funding for Charter schools are concerned that State schools will end up paying their teachers less. One of the things about Charter schools that State schools should emulate is the managers who handle all of the budget, leaving the principal free to focus on education. Having an expert on money management on staff is a key difference between Charter schools and State schools.

Merivale principal Jan Tinetti likened the proposed school funding changes to the bulk funding of schools in the 90s.
Merivale principal Jan Tinetti likened the proposed school funding changes to the bulk funding of schools in the 90s.

A new proposed funding scheme for schools and teachers has been likened to 90s bulk-funding and has already received criticism by both the secondary and primary school unions.

In consultation documents published on the Ministry of Education’s website, the department proposes a new funding system with “the potential to increase flexibility in schools’ use of funding while simplifying funding arrangements”.

The change would set a “global budget” for each school, delivered as cash instalments for school expenses, and a credit system for salaries.

The documents stated: “This is a significant difference from historical bulk funding proposals which would have seen schools charged the actual salary.”

Despite this, NZEI national executive general member and Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti said she was wary about the proposals.

“I’ve looked at the cabinet paper and to me it looks like bulk funding just with another name, and the only difference I can see is that it is coming from the centre rather than coming from the school.

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