Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Still paying off National's cronies

When they were in power, National established a system of charter schools to direct public money into private pockets. And now that they're out of power, we're still paying for it:

Taxpayers have paid $3.4 million to five proposed charter schools that may never open.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has told National education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye that two proposed schools were paid establishment grants on the day the Ardern Government was sworn in, October 26.

Two others have been paid establishment grants since then, apparently because the new Government was bound by contracts signed before the election even though Hipkins has introduced a bill abolishing charter, or partnership, schools.

None of the five schools is believed to have paid back any of the money yet because they are still negotiating about either opening state or integrated schools instead, or recovering their costs for dreams that will never be realised.

Screw negotiations. This is public money, and it should be repaid. The government should introduce a clause into its charter school abolition bill to ensure that it is. The public should not be paying for schools which will never open, or for assets for private companies who will take them and run.