Students ‘short-changed’

Saturday, 20th May, 2017

Teachers in Broken Hill have written hundreds of postcards in the past week urging the State Government to persevere in its efforts to keep the Gonski funding policy for schools.

President of the Barrier Teachers Association Maureen Clark said as the Turnbull Government is opposed to providing the final two years of funding that would have delivered nearly $4 billion dollars to schools, they recently countered with its own funding model for schools. 

Offering only $2 billion to schools over the final two years in 2018 and 2019, the Turnbull model falls well short of the amounts expected by schools and state governments, she said.

“State governments were not consulted by the Federal government in the development of this model and seem to have been left out of any subsequent decision making,” Mrs Clark said.

“Calling this inferior funding model, Gonski 2 is a political move and no one is fooled. 

“Although we are pleasantly surprised to find the Turnbull government at long last seems to recognise the value of needs-based funding for our schools, that’s where the similarity ends. 

“The money in the funding bucket is a lot less ñ there’s a shortfall of $22 billion over ten years ñ and there is no real detail about how the money will be distributed. 

“There is an expectation that private schools, apart from small local Catholic schools, will be the big beneficiaries.”

The length of time the funding is spread over is another disturbing issue. 

“With this new funding spread over ten years, children at primary school now will never see the benefits. 

“Then when our school leavers go to university, they face massively increased course fees and will be expected to repay their HELP much earlier. No wonder young people are depressed about the future.”

Local schools expect to lose the following amounts in 2018 and 2019:

Alma Public:      -$722,072

Broken Hill High School:          - $853,560

Broken Hill North Public:         - $658,420

Broken Hill Public:               - $293,086

Burke Ward Public:               - $510,401

Menindee Central:          - $362,800

Morgan Street Public:          - $253,320

Railway Town Public:           - $216,721

Wilcannia Central:           - $ 595,681

Willyama High School:          - $566,499

“These are substantial losses to our schools, especially when seen in the context of what those schools will lose in the way of resources - teachers and aides for needy kids especially - and programs like literacy and numeracy remediation. Education should always be seen as an investment, and not a cost,” Mrs Clark said.

The NSW premier’s department and the Minister for Education were contacted for comment.