Election year and the lobbying is in full swing with teachers' unions calling out the Government for making what they say are misleading claims about school funding increases.
The NZEI and the PPTA say their research shows only a 2.3 per cent real per pupil spending increase from 2009 to the end of 2015, and question why the Education Minister is talking up a 35 per cent increase.
The national secretary of NZEI, Paul Goulter, said the Government is offering up what are essentially alternative facts.
"In our schools, students' learning and teaching is being severely hampered now by what is becoming very quickly a funding crisis in schools," he said.
Mr Goulter said the Government needs to address the funding squeeze in the upcoming Budget.
The Education Minister's office released a statement in response, saying there is no conspiracy and the Government's figure of a 35 per cent increase since 2008 comes from Treasury. That figure refers to total funding for the portfolio.
The union’s president, Lynda Stuart, said schools aren't seeing the funding come through.
"You almost start to wonder is there something that I’m doing wrong or is there something that isn’t matching up? And there certainly is something that isn’t matching up," she said.
Ms Stuart said as a school principal, she has to make sacrifices to whittle down the budget.
"I can't touch the electricity. Those bills have to be paid. If the swimming pool has a leak I’ve got to go there.
"So actually the things that I have to touch are the support staff who work directly with children or the curriculum resources that our teachers use."
Mr Goulter said parents are being increasingly asked to make up the shortfall, with 16 per cent of principals expecting to increase donations or fees.