1 Oct 2011

Private schools to keep $2.5m overpayment

6:13 am on 1 October 2011

The Ministry of Education has mistakenly overpaid private schools by $2.5 million but is not seeking to recover the funds.

The ministry says the 2011 funding rates for private schools were set incorrectly, resulting in the overpayment.

It says that when giving out an extra $10 million allocated to private schools in last year's Budget, it failed to exclude money meant for new scholarships to help low income families pay private school fees.

The ministry's secretary for education, Karen Sewell, is also assuring them no schools will be disadvantaged by the mistake as the ministry won't be asking for the money back

The ministry says it will find the funds from within existing budgets, but Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) president Robin Duff, says that means it will have to come from state sector provisions.

He says it is a double whammy as the private schools will get extra funds, but at the expense of state education.

Mr Duff says the schools involved should make arrangements with the ministry to return the overpayment.