The Green Party has been caught bending its own party policy after a private school in Taranaki was given $11.7 million to fund an expansion programme.
The money comes from the Government’s $3 billion shovel-ready projects fund, and was announced in a press release from Greens co-leader James Shaw who said the grant to Green School New Zealand would help the school expand its roll from 120 students to 250, creating 200 jobs.
This is a private for profit school that charges between $24,000 and $43,000 a year. It doesn’t even have full registration, yet it just got given $12 million.
Even if you accept the spin it will help expand the roll by 120 students that is $100,000 per student. But the last data the Ministry of Education has is it has 11 domestic students.
Green Party policy is opposed to state funding being given to private schools, and wants it to be gradually phased out.
‘Public funding for private schools should be phased out and transferred to public schools,” says the party’s current education policy.
So their official policy is to ban public funding of private schools (ie the 25% subsidy per student), and then they go give $12 million to one tiny private school, because well they personally approve of the school.
As far as I know no other private school in NZ has ever received public money for their property. They get 25% of the average operational cost for a state pupil which is around $1,500 per student. Pretty small biscuits. And here we get $12 million to one small private school.
The sheer scale of the funding is significant. When the Government announced a $400 million package to upgrade New Zealand’s ageing public school infrastructure, it was capped at $400,000. The grant to the Green School would be enough to fund nearly 30 schools at that rate.
Just up the road from Green School, New Plymouth Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools each received $400,000.
Both those schools have more than 1,200 students. So they get around $330 per student while the Green school gets over $100,000 per student.