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Public schools ‘robbed’ of funds

Wednesday, 12th September, 2018

Teachers at the North Public School met with Maureen Clark (front right) and Brett Bertalli to support the Fair Funding Now campaign. PICTURE: Myles Burt Teachers at the North Public School met with Maureen Clark (front right) and Brett Bertalli to support the Fair Funding Now campaign. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

Public schools will get a fraction of the money they were meant to receive from the Federal Government in a move described by teachers as not only unfair but illegal.

Barrier Teachers Association president Maureen Clark said the crucial Gonski funding was overturned by the Federal Government, even though it had already been legislated.

“To my mind surely that must be illegal because the funding was legislated and has now been changed to our detriment,” said Mrs Clark.

Since the Government installed its own Gonski 2.0, public schools receive 80 per cent state funding and 20 per cent federal funding. This was instead of the 35 per cent state funding and 65 per cent federal funding planned under the original Gonski reforms.

Eighty per cent of federal funding has now been redirected towards independent, catholic and private schools. 

“You have to ask, how is that fair?” Mrs Clark said, “and hence we now have our Fair Funding Campaign.”

Country Organiser of NSW Teachers Federation, Brett Bertalli, said the Government had only provided a third of what was promised.

“It wasn’t the real Gonski,” Mr Bertalli said. “They actually commandeered the term Gonski - that was ours.”

Mr Bertalli said under the Gonski 2.0 system 87 per cent of public schools will not reach the Schooling Resources Standard by 2023.

“People are gobsmacked over the level of funding that they lost,” Mr Bertalli said. “I say lost ’cause it was legislated, it was the law.

“They (Government) had to change the law to stop them from getting it.”

Mrs Clark said public schools in the Far West were the ones that would have benefitted most under the original Gonski funding. 

“All schools in the Far West could do with more funding,” she said.

“In particular, the North Public School which has a number of special education classes for children with disability and learning difficulty.”

Mrs Clark is very annoyed over the disability loading for public schools which, when legislated, was supposed to be given to all schools in need.

“That money never arrived to schools,” she said.

“They are the children in our public school system that need it the most.”

Mr Bertalli said in NSW the money must be given to the needs of the students directly.

“You can’t take Aboriginal funding and go spend it on a bus unless you can justify it,” he said. “Same with disability funding. The small amount of disability funding we did get has to be targeted towards those kids.

“Because we’ve got those policies in NSW we know that money is going to make a difference. That’s what it was designed to do.”

Mr Bertalli said the money cannot be used to upgrade or construct school buildings, which was what private schools can now do.

“The funding the Government gives to private schools, they actually put that in an account and build a building with it,” he said.

“We don’t do that, we can’t do that, the legislation won’t allow that. Our funding goes to staff.”

Mr Bertalli said it’s in the Federation’s best interests to make sure the funding is used appropriately for programs that increase literacy and numeracy skills. 

“We need to make it work, otherwise we’ll have no justification to hold onto it,” Mr Bertalli said.”So it’s in our best interest to lift the results.

“We’re well aware that we need to get value for money.”


2018 NERA (Original Gonski) v Gonski 2.0
Public School Funding Comparison: 

Alma Public School
NERA - $283,397
Gonski 2.0 - $42,500

Broken Hill High School
NERA - $382,253
Gonski 2.0 - $22,900

Broken Hill North Public School
NERA - $259,090
Gonski 2.0 - $44,900

Broken Hill Public School
NERA - $123,182
Gonski 2.0 - $30,700

Burke Ward Public School
NERA - $232,380
Gonski 2.0 - $50,300

Menindee Central School
NERA - $149,481
Gonski 2.0 - $29,500

Morgan Street Public School
NERA - $129,537
Gonski 2.0 - $44,600

Railway Town Public School
NERA - $88,106
Gonski 2.0 - $19,700 

School of the Air
NERA - $43,519
Gonski 2.0 - $18,800

Willyama High School
NERA - $246,066
Gonski 2.0 - $93,200

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