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With creaking and cracking heard throughout the room the Holy Head of Antelope turned upon all those gathered.Someone will die tonight.

This Makes Me Incredibly Sad And Angry

Stuff (the online version of a lot of the New Zealand newspapers) has a headline, "Parents asked to cover $3m deficit", which in itself I wouldn't have really taken a lot of notice of. BUT, it popped into view via my Google Reader and specifically through my Google News 'miramar' feed - so this is local to me. It was immediately local when I clicked open to see the head teacher Amanda smiling up at me ... this was MY kid's kindy they're talking about - FUCK!

In a nutshell it seems that the Government has cut $4million from the Kindergarten budget which would need to be made up somewhere else. That won't happen (IMHO). And so the prosepect of the Miramar Central Kindy shutting is now all too real. This is the kindy that gave both Jack and Meg the BEST (and I cannot stress how forcefully I typed "BEST" - "B E S T", you getting this?) ... the BEST start to their school life anyone could have hoped for.

Amanda and her team work in old premises but, through the work of the parent's committee, have managed to upgrade it over the years - it is no longer at risk of falling over, yaay. More importantly though the teachers there have a solid programme, a love of kids and an overwhelming desire (and experience and skills) to give every child the best start in life.

... [taking a break ... tears] ...

Phew, that came upon me a but suddenly.
Anyway, it's the place I will forever be grateful to and I DON'T WANT IT TO CLOSE!

Here's the Stuff.co.nz article (as usual, I copy-paste it here because articles do tend to disappear over there):

Parents asked to cover $3m deficit
AMANDA FISHER (Last updated 05:00 23/06/2011)

Wellington kindergartens have been told they will lose $48,000 each because of last year's Budget cuts, and parents will be asked to help make up the shortfall through fundraising and voluntary contributions.

Wellington Kindergartens, an association that oversees 63 kindergartens from Seatoun to Levin, is sending parents a letter stating that, while it has tried to manage 2010 Budget cuts, which reduced extra funding to centres that had more than 80 per cent qualified staff, it faces a $3 million loss.

Miramar Central Kindergarten head teacher Amanda Raven said the centre, which raised about $4000 each year, would not be able to make up the shortfall. "That's an impossible target, that's absolutely ridiculous."

A few weeks ago parents had spent the day running a sausage sizzle, from which they raised about $270. "It's just paltry what we managed to raise for a day's work."

They would do other activities such as arranging a disco and professional photography, but Miss Raven was concerned about the profitability. Last year, they only just broke even on tea towel and chocolate sales – which went against their healthy-eating policy.

"This building is a very old building, we have lots of maintenance bills and there's no way it seems fair that parents have to fundraise for that basic stuff."

The kindergartens would also ask for a voluntary contribution of 50 cents an hour for each hour of their 20 hours' entitlement, which gives parents 20 hours of free early childhood education for children between three and five. "A lot of our parents won't be able to afford even that."

No children would be turned away if their parents could not afford the donation.

Wellington Kindergartens general manager Amanda Coulston said the association had tried to share the load, with the central office making cutbacks and teachers being asked to work an extra three days to generate more funds.

Sheridan Dalziel, whose daughter Orla, 3, has recently started at Miramar Central, said the period of early childhood education was "such an important time for kids to develop and grow" and investment was really important.

Ideally money would still come in through the Government, but if that was not possible it was important to fundraise and contribute where possible.

"When things are pretty tight for people ... lots of kids could potentially miss out."

Education Minister Anne Tolley said parents did not have to pay anything for 20 hours' ECE if they did not want to.

"ECE services are private businesses – and on average kindergartens receive $325,000 of taxpayer funding every year."

- The Dominion Post

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