Editorial misses the alternate costs

January 31st, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

 If saving Wanganui Collegiate is a priority for the cash-strapped Government, the system must be in very fine health indeed.

At a time when schools across the country have to ask parents to help fund vital learning tools, National has found more than $3 million a year to prop up an institution that is not needed.

Falling rolls meant Wanganui Collegiate was expected to close at the end of last year, but it was thrown a lifeline when the Government agreed to let it integrate into the state system. …

Why would they do that you may wonder?

There is no denying the college has done a superb job in educating its pupils, with a 96 per cent pass rate for NCEA level 2 in 2011.

That’s one reason.

What Ms Parata failed to mention was that the school’s integration flew in the face of sound advice from the Education Ministry and Treasury.

That advice pointed out that there were already more than 1400 unfilled places in secondary schools across the Whanganui-Rangitikei region, a figure that was expected to rise by 50 each year for the next decade.

Many who attend Collegiate are not even from the region.

Meanwhile, the more than $3m the Government will pay to keep it open is money that cannot go towards improving literacy and numeracy for the thousands of pupils who lack the basic skills needed for a good education.

It is also funding that could have gone towards the Government’s aim for 85 per cent of 18-year-olds to have NCEA level 2 or its equivalent by 2017.

This editorial gets a fail in basic literacy and numeracy.

If Wanganui Collegiate closes, then their pupils will all enrol in other schools, which will also cost the taxpayer $3 million. Trying to say that you would save this money if the school closed is absolutely misleading.

Tags: , ,

31 Responses to “Editorial misses the alternate costs”

  1. speters (108 comments) says:

    You really agree with the Govt propping up a failing school? The academic success might be there, but I thought liberals believed in the free market and the punters are clearly voting with their feet.

    Also, I don’t see how you can conclude that the cost of enrolling students in schools that already have the necessary capacity will be the same as propping up Wanganui Collegiate while that capacity goes unused!

    [DPF: Funding is per student. WC is also an existing school with existing buildings. I'm all for competition, but unless we abolish integrated schools, then why would you discriminate againgst WC - a school which gets excellent results]

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    If Wanganui Collegiate closes, then their pupils will all enrol in other schools, which will also cost the taxpayer $3 million. Trying to say that you would save this money if the school closed is absolutely misleading.

    Wait! Doesn’t that mean that closing and merging schools in Christchurch wouldn’t save any money, because the pupils still represent a cost to the taxpayer regardless of the school they attend?

    [DPF: You're right, they are not being done primarily for saving money. In fact the Govt has pledged $100m or $1b (can't recall) to build new Chch schools. The decisions are more around viability of very small schools, or schools with damaged buildings. It is not a cost cutting exercise]

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. m@tt (604 comments) says:

    “If Wanganui Collegiate closes, then their pupils will all enrol in other schools, which will also cost the taxpayer $3 million. Trying to say that you would save this money if the school closed is absolutely misleading”

    Perhaps someone in Christchurch would like to use that argument? On that basis (ignore falling rolls) then no school would ever be closed.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Graeme Edgeler (3,274 comments) says:

    If Wanganui Collegiate closes, then their pupils will all enrol in other schools, which will also cost the taxpayer $3 million.

    Not if many of the pupils transfer to other private schools.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Prince Edward went to Wanganui Collegiate. Closure wouldn’t play well with the palace :)

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    Totally flawed logic by DPF on this one.

    If education is subject to the market, shouldn’t a well-known school like Collegiate be able to stand on its own two feet?

    Just a few days ago DPF was on about the rights of residents in East Christchurch to attend Burnside instead of their local schools. Now that Collegiate is the target and not Aranui, it is OK to prop the ‘market’ up.

    This seems like total hypocrisy to me – It’s OK to intervene and pump money into a failed private school, but a big ‘up yours’ to those in working class Christchurch.

    Same old Tory politics at play – Bail-outs for the wealthy while the poor just need to suffer some more.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. david (2,548 comments) says:

    But dpf, this is a perfect vehicle for the left to whinge about “subsidies for the wealthy”, to rail against educational elitism, to complain that Wanganui Collegiate was a racist institution that did not provide opportunities to Maori, to suggest all sorts of alternative uses for $3 million. They will go as far as saying that $3 million is a lot of money while on the other sides of their mouths they will talk about housing subsidies worth $300 million and raiding $900 million from the roading fund.

    There will be no mention of the cost of educating 1400 extra pupils in the State system’s sub-standard edifices which will leave 20% of them under-educated. There will be no mention of the sacrifices made by parents in order to provide their kids with a superior education while those without ambitions for their families go off to their beach house and boat at Whangamata or Whitianga, there will be no mention of the proportion of Wanganui’s ex pupils who have made their mark in medicine, agriculture, international sports and public life.

    No Catherine Delahunty will drag out the politics of envy and the Green’s philosophy of pulling everyone down to the lowest common denominator in the interests of equality. Bah Humbug (check some of the comments above for the sort of tripe I was expecting)

    Declaration – I have no connection whatsoever with Wanganui Collegiate but do have high expectations for my kids and for New Zealand and have willingly made many financial and time sacrifices in supporting those expectations.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. david (2,548 comments) says:

    speters and hamnidaV2 – if the market was to be allowed to work we would have vouchers which gave every child the same funding and it would be up to parents then to determine how much extra they would be willing to invest in their kid’s education. As it is those who seek better (and as I have already said make many personal sacrifices to deliver it) not only pay the bulk of costs for their own kids but also pay for SOCKs – how is that fair?

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    The lefties would love to see it close – it produces good results for it’s students and that makes other schools look bad. The lefty world view that we must all be mediocre so nobody feels like a failure is alive and well in the union dominated school system.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Cunningham (828 comments) says:

    On this occasion I actually agree with hamnidaV2 (which is probably the first and last time that will ever happen). There would definitely a saving by closing the school and it is pretty rank of the government to do this while on the other hand doing the opposite in Chch. Hekia strikes again and with her ‘karma’ comment, she has continued on where she left off last year. JK may well have lost Nat the next election by keeping her in charge of education.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. pq (728 comments) says:

    And I was saying, I love you dear wife I bring your boy here to education,
    You know from Thailand , I send him to school to Whanganaui,
    she said you can fuck off,
    my boy goes to Christchurch Boys High school
    what is wrong with you

    ./

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    And what about Marlborough Boys’? Forced to pay off a multi-million loan from the Crown that a previous Board and Principal incurred, while Collegiate gets a $3 million bailout and ongoing money via integration.

    How does that make sense?

    What does local MP Colin King have to say about this?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Jim (405 comments) says:

    Something is wrong here as I completely agree with hamnida on this (along with most of the other early commenters). Totally flawed logic for the govt to pour money into a non-viable private school when there is already excess capacity in the system.

    High academic success rates are meaningless when taken from such a skewed sample. It says more about the school’s implicit selection criteria than how good the teaching is.

    On another note, I wonder why they failed financially if they are such a fantastic school. Education is booming elsewhere and there is excess demand for top private schools. Parents moving to Australia perhaps?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Paulus (2,546 comments) says:

    What would you do with the School if it closed ?

    Build State Houses on the playing fileds and use the boarding houses for the poor of Wanganui ?

    Would there be new boarding facilities in other Wanganui Schools, and would they be available for both sexes, from out of town –

    Parents still pay currently for both, part for education, and unsupported boarding facilities, even into the integrated system created last year.

    How people hate a first class academic school – look at its current NCEA results.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler @ 11.25.
    hamnidaV2 @ 11.30
    and Jim @ 12.41
    and others…..

    What DPF has left out is that if the school closes then the taxpayer – thats presumably you lot (unless you are like that dip-stick Penny Bright in Auckland who refuses to pay her rates) – will have to BUILD A NEW SCHOOL.

    Thats the bit that everyone leaves out of the private/integrated school argument. If they all closed no operational money would be saved and there would be hundreds of millions needed to build new state schools to replace them

    So really we should all be down on our knees thanking those who support private and integrated schools for saving the taxpayer so much money from having NOT TO BUILD new schools.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    @barry – Why is there a need to build a new school? I think the opposite, there appears to be no need to build a new school.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    @hamnidaV2 – your conclusion seems to predicated on the idea that all the students would be sent to other schools in Whanganui.

    I have never understood the hatred that some on the left have for integrated schools. For decades, the parents of Wanganui Collegiate have subsidised the education of other children by opting out of the taxpayer funded state school system. Before that, Catholic parents likewise subsidised the rest of the system.

    With integration, that subsidy is reduced. With the requirement that capital development be funded privately, however, integrated schools still represent a subsidy to State school parents. So what’s the big deal?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Jim (405 comments) says:

    barry, did you see this bit:

    “What Ms Parata failed to mention was that the school’s integration flew in the face of sound advice from the Education Ministry and Treasury.

    That advice pointed out that there were already more than 1400 unfilled places in secondary schools across the Whanganui-Rangitikei region, a figure that was expected to rise by 50 each year for the next decade.

    Doesn’t seem like there is a need for a new school in that region.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Yes Jim I did. I also saw Treasury supporting Charter schools. Im not sure treasury knows their arse from their elbow – or can remember what they said yesterday.

    And as for advice from the Education Ministry – yea right – theyre in favour of nothing that improves educational outcome – they just want the status quo – so they can keep working on the same old solutions that get no where. What do they say is the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes.

    and re unfilled places in the area. Thats right – take the old US approach to solving racism – bus everyone all over the place. Hasnt solved the anti black sentiment in the US – in fact its made it worse and the people most pissed off are the blacks. Busing kids around to filled places at crap schools will be about as successful as the US solution to solve racism.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. B A W (98 comments) says:

    The answer is bulk funding. Then there would be no more discussion about this.
    The school would be told by it’s accountants that if the bills are not paid then it is closure time.

    As for closing the current school – there would be some savings due to consolidation of overheads and capital cost, but we could easily have a whole lot of land sitting there doing nothing.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. lastmanstanding (1,233 comments) says:

    If all the parents like myself and my wife had decided to send our children to State schools rather than private schools the tax payers would have had to find hundreds of millions a year to compensate for the fees we paid.
    In effect we subsidised parents who sent their children to State schools by saving them the extra tax they would have had to pay.
    Thats the reality
    The more parents who send their children to private schools the less the tax payer has to pay.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    @barry – You seem to say the opposite of whatever is true.

    Treasury advised against charter schools:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10855881

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/education/partnershipschools

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    lastmanstanding

    The more parents who send their children to private schools the less the tax payer has to pay.

    Corret, your taxes are paying for capacity you are not using…. But that won’t stop the lefties from denigrating you – they are not smart enough to understand that your taxes are subsidising them while they moan about you spending your money how you choose.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    lastmanstanding

    I once posted that all people with kids in private schools should send their kids to their in-zone school on the first day of term to enrol. Just watch the schools and parents have a melt down about the class sizes being massive and insufficient desks etc…

    Then remind them about the tax you are paying and tell them to stop being so dim witted when they denigrate people who choose private education.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Jim (405 comments) says:

    Barry, 65% of the roll at Collegiate are boarders paying full fees. If the school closes then the govt won’t be forced to build a new school, certainly not in an area with a downward trend in demand. Collegiate’s roll is also spiraling downwards – likely the cause of their financial problems.

    I’m not a hater of private schools either. Both my kids are in non govt run schools and I’m paying $50k a year for that. I could send them to the neighbourhood school for next to nothing but we have chosen not to. This is the reason why I’m questioning the Collegiate decision: it’s a private school and their customers are voting with their feet (so to speak), not queueing up to enrol.

    Why bail out a private school with a downward roll in a downward region, a school where 65% of the students come from elsewhere?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Jim – putting aside the logic of keeping non govt schools alive – its all about politics.

    1. Most of the parents are Nat voters – why piss them off
    2. With Charter schools in the news – why apparently make a decision against the concept
    3. Its in a Maori party electorate – good news to favour that segment.
    4. Being now integrated it will be open to all those poor maori in the city and local area.

    And the most important reason – Im all in favour of integrated schools. And now that its is – it will have to perform because the demands on an integrated school are much more than a state school.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. AG (1,795 comments) says:

    If Wanganui Collegiate closes, then their pupils will all enrol in other schools, which will also cost the taxpayer $3 million.

    Doesn’t this depend on whether any of the $3 million goes toward the maintenance/development of capital assets? In other words, if the Government is paying to help keep fixed up (or even improve) Wanganui Collegiate’s buildings, etc while at the same time paying for the capacity to teach 1400-odd students in the area, then it would be cheaper to let Wanganui Collegiate fail.

    That’s all in addition to the fact that the assumption if it does fail, all its students will all enroll in other state/integrated schools, of course.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    AG – Integrated schools have to look after the school themselves with no money from government. They have to upkeep the buildings and assest from their own money – usually obtained by setting ‘building fund’ fees for all attending students.

    So integrated schools are VERY CHEAP for the taxpayer. The taxpayer only has to pay for the teachers.

    Now – If all the schools in Chch had been integrated – then it wouldnt be costing the taxpayer one cent to get them all up and going again – as the schools property is not the problem of the taxpayer.

    It doesnt matter which way you look at it, integrated schools are a bloody cheap option for the taxpayer.

    Actually OTHER schools in the area around whanganui should be closed and that would save the taxpayer a lot of money. Send the kids to Collegiate where the taxpayer doesnt pay for the buildings or their upkeep.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    @barry “The taxpayer only has to pay for the teachers” – Not true:

    http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/PropertyToolBox/IntegratedSchools/Fundingdiagram.aspx

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Well HamnidaV2 – I can tell you the claim that the taxpayer pays for property in integrated schools is bullshit. Ive been on the board of an integrated school and taxpayer funding for property is virtually nil.
    Yes there is some when first integrated to bring the school up to spec if its below what is considered the minimum (and thats very basic) and then after that its almost all the proprietors problem.

    Integrated schools are the taxpayers best friend……..

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Jim (405 comments) says:

    Barry, ” putting aside the logic of keeping non govt schools alive – its all about politics.”

    Agreed. That’s why I don’t like it. Not when Labour does it, and not when National does.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.