Prior to the publication of Save Our Schools NZ’s detailed analysis of charter school funding in 2016, we here present a summary of findings:
- 6 of the 8 on-going charter schools are operating below their Guaranteed Minimum Roll for 2016, with a total of 46 positions over-funded as at 1 March 2016;
- Across the 8 schools, the combined opening roll at the start of 2016 falls short of the combined Maximum roll by 817 students (895 enrolled versus 1,712 Maximum);
- Looking at average school size, the combined opening roll of 895 students gives an average size per school of only 112 students;
- Even though the first round schools are now in their third year of operation and are well past their establishment period, only one – South Auckland Middle School – is operating at or above its original Maximum Roll;
- Paraoa and Vanguard are both in their third year of operation but neither has reached their Maximum Roll. Average funding per student is reducing slowly but both first round secondary schools receive average funding around the $16,000 per student mark;
- Ministry of Education figures reveal that the weighted average operational funding per student across State and State-Integrated NZ secondary schools in 2015 was $7,606.97;
- South Auckland Middle School is the older of the two middle schools and its total funding per student has stabilised at around the $12,000 mark. This stability has arisen because SAMS started with an initial roll that was close to its Maximum Roll and this has remained the case;
- Middle School West Auckland, however, has seen its roll and GMR fall from 2015 to 2016. Consequently, its average funding per student has risen and is over 40% higher than its sister school;
- The primary schools receive much less operational funding under the original charter school funding model than the secondary or middle schools;
- Both their Base Funding and their Property & Insurance components are much less, because the assumption is that the primary school model is less costly to implement than the secondary model of schooling;
Finally, it will never be easy to make straightforward comparisons between charter school and State / State-Integrated school funding, as this inevitably involves an apples v oranges comparison. But even in their third year of operation, the first round schools still have high total funding per student costs compared to the weighted average across the school system.
And while things may or may not change over time, our approach will remain simple: “Follow the Money”.
~ Bill Courtney, Save Our Schools NZ