Funding gap widening between schools

May 19, 2017

Private schools in the Cobram district are in line to receive 300 per cent more government funding than similar public schools nearby over the next 10 years.

A breakdown of data contained in Canberra’s online estimator, released just ahead of last week’s Federal Budget, shows Nathalia’s St Mary of the Angels College will receive $16970 in Commonwealth funding per student in 2027, Cobram Anglican Grammar will receive $16756 per student and St Joseph’s Primary School will receive $13493.

Meanwhile, Cobram Primary will receive $4363 per student, Cobram Secondary $5582, Strathmerton Primary $4433 and Katamatite Primary $5359.

Across the river, Barooga Public will receive $4571 in 2027, while Cobram and District Specialist School will receive $13983.

The estimator details how each school’s funding will change in the next 10 years.

An $18.6billion investment will see all but 24 schools in Australia receive a funding boost, but it will also widen the gap between public and private school funding in the region.

The level of government funding to schools is shaped by various factors including school size, socio-economic status, disability and student need.

But the head of the Australian Education Union claims the latest funding arrangements will hurt public schools.

‘‘We know Malcolm Turnbull’s plan will only widen the gap of disadvantage by locking public schools into an inherently flawed model,’’ AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe said.

‘‘If we go down this path, 84 per cent of public schools will be below the minimum Schooling Resource Standard by 2027 — this means children will be left behind.’’

Ms Haythorpe said schools would be $22billion worse off over the next 10 years than they would be under the needs-based Gonski agreements.

‘‘Schools can’t close student achievement gaps with cuts to funding, it’s that simple.

‘‘Malcolm Turnbull is trying to sell his agenda but parents can see through it.

‘‘Cuts are cuts, it doesn’t matter how the government spins it.’’

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said his government’s funding package was ‘‘truly needs-based and fair’’ and would provide long-term certainty to schools.

‘‘Our plan will set students on the path to academic excellence and achieve real needs-based funding for students from all backgrounds, in every town and city, in every region and state, in every classroom,’’ Senator Birmingham said.

‘‘Our changes will ensure all schools and states transition to an equal Commonwealth share of the resource standard in a decade, unlike the 150 years of inequity the current arrangements Labor left us with.’’

The government announced earlier this month it would enlist businessman David Gonski to conduct a review of funding in the education sector.

The review, dubbed Gonski 2.0, comes just seven years after he delivered a report to the Gillard Government with dozens of recommendations, including a $5billion annual increase in schools funding.

●To access the government’s online estimator, go to:

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