No surprise to find more organisations lining up to run charter schools:
ACT’s charter school policy will expand with seven new schools budgeted for
Seven new charter schools announced by the Government will cost taxpayers up to $600,000 each to set up.
The new schools will expand the flagship ACT policy that saw five schools open, mostly in Auckland and Northland in 2014 – one of which, in Whangaruru has since been closed by the Education Minister – and another four opened in 2015.
Te Pumanawa o te Wairua in Whangaruru was given a series of warnings and closed down in March after the school was plagued with problems, including bullying, drugs, poor student achievement and inadequate teaching.
In a move to overcome some of those issues, Seymour has also announced the introduction of an independent entity to support schools. … The support entity, E Tipu E Rea, would join other independent organisations such as the New Zealand School Trustees Association in providing support services, he said.
It would receive most of its funding from private sources and was designed to increase the number of “high quality applicants” setting up schools, and supporting existing schools to “continuously develop”. It would also receive a conditional funding grant of $500,000, which would be drawn from a “contingency established in 2015,” Seymour said. Former CEO of EY Australasia, Rob McLeod, will chair the board, which includes Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Jenny Gibbs, Michael Jones, Bruce Ritchie and Ken Rapson as board members. …
I/S at No Right Turn is pretty scathing of the new body:
Cronyism in action
So, the government has just announced that they will be establishing more charter schools – because clearly one failure resulting in a private company running off with millions of dollars of government funding isn’t enough. They’ve also announced a new “independent” entity to support them, run by ACT crony Jenny Gibbs and Maori Party crony Tariana Turia. So, pork all round for the support parties then.
Speaking of gravy trains:
School cash flows to owners’ pockets
Some of the country’s flagship charter schools are paying their owners hundreds of thousands in governance fees to help manage average rolls of just 70 children.
An analysis of audited financial returns has shown administration and management at the publicly funded, privately run schools form a large part of their costs – up to 40 per cent of total salaries.
Accounts for the first five schools show that four made “related party” payments to their sponsor trusts or companies last year. One school, Vanguard Military School, paid $309,391 for management, over and above what it paid its principal. The money went to the Advanced Training Group. Both entities are owned by the Hyde family.
All of the $14 million of charter school funding came from the Government, with none of the first five schools partnering with business or other private backers in the way envisaged under an election deal between National and the Act Party.
The money comes rolling in whether the schools meet their targets or not:
Charter schools given $60k in performance payments despite contract issues
Four charter schools were awarded $60,000 in performance payments last year, despite only one of them fully meeting the terms of their contracts.
The Labour Party says the decision “defeats the purpose” of the contracts, and underlines the disparities between the well-funded charter schools and their struggling state equivalents. …
It comes rolling in whether they have the student numbers or not:
Ministry says charter schools “over-funding” is $888,000
The Education Ministry says charter schools are getting a total of $888,000 more than they would if their funding were strictly based on their enrolments.
Seven of the nine schools had fewer students in September than their guaranteed minimum roll, meaning they are being paid for students they do not have. …
Charter schools are pretty nice work if you can get it, no wonder groups are lining up.
There’s no evidence that charter schools are good for education. Reviews are mixed. Numbers are cooked by reporting “Participation Based” pass rates and not “Roll Based” pass rates (poorly performing kids don’t take exams). And the Minister Hekia Parata vetoed Education Ministry advice so as to ensure that achievement results from charter schools are not compared with those of state schools (it’s “too soon” you see).
There may well be some good committed teachers at charter schools doing good things. They certainly have funding resources that far exceed state schools – in some cases “$27,000 in operational funding per student each year, compared with $7000 per student in state schools” – so they have the opportunity to do things that state schools can’t – if they use their funding on education instead of “governance fees”. But there is no evidence of this so far. And just imagine what state schools could do if they were funded at the same level, where the funding could have “the greatest impact on the greatest number of students”…