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Flawed funding estimator hides cuts to schools

Posted on 13 December 2017
Flawed funding estimator hides cuts to schools
The Federal Government has once again come under scrutiny for the figures released in its recently relaunched school funding estimator with the Shadow Minister for Education and Training Tanya Plibersek saying it hides cuts to public and Catholic schools.

In a media release, the Opposition deputy leader said parents "deserve the truth" about how the government's "unfair funding policy will affect their child's school".

"Mr Turnbull's unfair policy cuts $17 billion from schools. While public schools and Catholic parish schools bear the brunt of these cuts, many elite private schools will actually do much better. His priorities are all wrong. Parents, teachers, and our children deserve better."

"Malcolm Turnbull will always put elite private schools first. Under Mr Turnbull, private schools are getting more funding than ever before. That's not fair, needs based, or sector blind," said Ms Plibersek.

The revamped version of the estimator shows average per-student funding projections for Catholic schools across Australia and 18 other independent school systems.

In an interview with The Age, National Catholic Education Commission executive director Christian Zahra said the Catholic sector made its concerns known in May about the original funding estimator, but did not ask for the current changes.

"The NCEC did not push for funding for Catholic schools to be shown as an averaged or system amount on the estimator, although it was widely agreed that the previous approach was flawed," Mr Zahra said.

"The Catholic sector supports a transparent and consistent funding model and we don't believe the current model delivers that. As an example, the transition arrangements mean Catholic schools will lose $1.1bn in funding in real terms over the next decade compared to independent standalone schools in the same situation," he said.

"The SES scores relied upon by government to fund non-government schools have also been widely discredited and the government is now having a formal review into models that can more accurately assess need. This has been strongly advocated for by Catholic school leaders."

The tool shows that in Victoria, the average Catholic school student will receive $12,705 in Commonwealth funding by 2027, in NSW $12,746, Queensland $12,534 and Western Australia $12,813.

The estimator shows that higher SES Catholic school like St Kevin's in Toorak has the same figures as the more disadvantaged Sacred Heart School in Fitzroy.

Catholic Education Commission Victoria executive director Stephen Elder wrote to his principals late last week urging them to disregard the estimator.

Tags: NCEC Funding

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