Integrated Schools have been targeted by the media recently.
The PPTA is going to their AGM with a recommendation that asks the Minister of Education to adopt their draft resolution to have the Private School Conditional Integration Act 1975 abolished, thus stopping any further Integrated Schools. Their primary reasons are theological. Simply, they are against the state funding ChristianSchools.
The second media item stems around the abuse of privilege. The Minister asserts that some Integrated Schools maybe misusing Policy One money and are demanding higher than necessary financial support, which puts a barrier to parents attending an IntegratedSchool.
Both areas are of genuine concern and require our urgent attention.
Firstly, the PPTA resolution is a direct attack on Christianity. It should be of no surprise to Christian organizations. Most are contested for the “prince of the power of the air” hates Jesus and hates any genuine Christ-centred organisation.
One only has to take a brief look at American politics over the last 40 years and you will see how the anti Christian lobbyists have slowly but surely eroded and denied Christian organisations their constitutional rights and their Christian privileges. This is happening in New Zealand. The Christians must unite and lobby with equally aggressive commitment. God does answers prayer and we should be interceding for our organisations. That is one side of the coin. The other side is that we must act with wisdom and with tenacity. Your school needs to be transparent and open to the public. Invite your MP and your local councilors, and those of influence into your school. Seek to win their favour. Hold regular events that brings the public into your school, so that when the time comes you can solicit their written endorsement and support.
The second issue is the use of public money:
Jesus said… “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s… and render to God that which is His.” Integrated Schools need to treat government money with the utmost transparency and with genuine Christian integrity. Policy One money is given to Proprietors to assist them maintain their schools to at least a State level. Legislation allows the Proprietors to use unspent money, ie., if the school is up to at least State standard at the end of any given year, excess Policy One money can be used for other projects within the School. The use of this money for non-school projects is illegal. Proprietors need to account for this grant.
Further, the Minister is concerned that there is no barrier to qualifying parents who want their children to attend an Integrated Schools from doing so. The barrier alludes to is the excessive amount of Attendance Dues and ‘donations” parents are expected to pay. There is no question that the Private Schools Integration Act gives Proprietors the ability to charge a compulsory Attendance Due ( which must be approved by the MOE if it is increased) and invite parents to consider a donation towards supporting you’re the delivery of your special character.
Regarding the Special Character contribution, it is over to you to motivate the School community to “buy in” to this voluntary gifting process. The wording in your prospectus is important. BethlehemCollege, for example has just changed theirs from a “Special Character levy” to a “Special Character contribution” to make it clearer that this is not a compulsory charge.
As I close this exhortation I encourage school leaders to re-read the following three documents.
Romans 12:8… We all have different gifts… “if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently…”
Christian Education Trust’s Ambassador