Cuts, Cuts, Cuts!

What’s with this Government! I am totally appalled that there has been a $2.3 million funding cut in school therapy services that will affect 23 schools, including the three I went to (Roskill Primary, Intermediate, and Grammar).

These schools need the extra funding, otherwise therapy time for the students involved will be severely restricted. The Education Minister (Ann Tolley) wants the $2.3 million which has been cut, to go into a general pool of $51 million to enable more children with special needs to qualify for a special needs grant (referred to as ORRS – Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Scheme). Ann Tolley wants this, as she says that the new funding model would be a fairer system, as at the moment, some schools receive the extra special funding. The drawback to this change will be the cutting back of therapists from schools like the Roskill schools where they are needed the most.

In my mind, this is a case of back to the future, as when I first attended Mt Roskill Primary School in the mid 80s, there were only three therapists between the three schools! (A Physiotherapist, an Occupational Therapist and a Speech Therapist.) This only changed gradually so by 1989 (my second year at Intermediate) there was a therapy team for each of the three schools. I hope it doesn’t get back to that, it will become really hard for the schools involved, as there are more disabled students in each of the three units now, compared to when I was at school.

From where I sit, this is but one area the current government is cutting and reallocating funds to by stealth. Some examples include the funding for community education, the Training Incentive Allowance (anything above certificate level is ineligible now), and worst of all, the $35 million being given to private schools. That’s right, PRIVATE SCHOOLS! To me, that stinks.

Hopefully soon the average NZer will wake up to what is happening and start something like what happened over the foreshore and seabed issue. Somehow I don’t think so. As long as John Key keeps smiling, everyone will think he is doing a good job.

I wonder what will be cut next?

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