"That is a fact of open discrimination. They might talk about social things about marriage and we cannot have discrimination, but bringing out $690 million without an allocation for faith-based schools is pure discrimination," Bishop O'Kelly told the Port Pirie Recorder."It hits you in the face. We don't begrudge a dollar to state schools. If they can find $690 million for state schools, they could have found another $10 million for other sectors."
In a letter to Premier Jay Weatherill, Bishop O'Kelly said he was concerned by the "injustice of taxpayers' money being given to only one education sector"."They are real and living children in Catholic schools. They are future citizens. They are part of our investment in the future and it is disgraceful that such discrimination is being exercised by the Labor government, of which you are the leader."
Last month, Catholic Education SA's executive director Dr Neil McGoran and Professor Denis Ralph, chair of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools, met with Premier Jay Weatherill to discuss state funding of Catholic schools. They also met separately with Opposition Leader Steven Marshall."We are seeking definitive commitments from the Government, the Opposition and other parties so that people in our parishes and schools can make an informed choice when they vote in the State election next year," Dr McGoran told the Southern Cross.
SA Catholic schools, on average, receive 14 per cent of their funding from the State Government, 54 per cent from the Federal Government and 32 per cent from parent contributions from school fees."When compared to Catholic schools in other states and territories, the South Australian Government provides the lowest level of funding to each student in a Catholic school. With 46,000 students in Catholic schools across the State, the total shortfall for 2017 is approximately $15 million," Dr McGoran said.