OIA shows charter schools cost over $48,000 per student annually

Charter schools “a proven waste of taxpayer money,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa following newly released documents.

Newly released documents obtained by NZEI Te Riu Roa on an OIA request show that between 2014 and 2018, charter schools cost up to $48,421 per student annually.  

When adjusted for inflation, that figure jumps to around $60,000. The figure is over six times what is spent per student per annum in mainstream schools, which is around $9000 per student.  

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In total, charter schools running between 2014 and 2018 cost $128 million. Around 30 percent of the cost was made up of administrative costs within the Ministry of Education.  

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Mark Potter says charter schools are a “failed experiment” and says reviving the initiative makes no sense.  

“It’s absurd that the government is even thinking about reintroducing this failed and highly expensive policy at the same time as they are backtracking on vital school building projects that put a roof over the heads of our ākonga. 

“Charter schools are a proven waste of taxpayer money.”  

Potter says instead, the government should be redirecting funding towards initiatives like smaller class sizes and learning support.  

“That money would be much better spent on initiatives that benefit all students, such as a teacher aide in every classroom, or timely learning support interventions.”  

Leader of the ACT Party David Seymour has said that charter schools are set to be reinstated in 2025, with their reintroduction to be bigger and faster than in 2014.  

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She enjoys crochet, painting, and a coffee or two at the beach. Her work can be found at The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff, and of course, School News NZ.
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