The Australian Education Union said schools across the country will miss out on billions of urgently needed funding in the next two years if the Turnbull Government’s plan passes through the Senate as predicted tomorrow.
AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that despite the political spin, the Government’s plan was not a national needs-based funding model and will leave public schools across the country under-resourced for six years or more.
“This has been a shambolic process from the Turnbull Government, they have rushed this through without proper negotiations with state governments and schooling sectors.
“Instead, today we see side-deals, special treatment and ongoing confusion about what level of funding is delivered to which schools at what point.
“Most importantly, public schools will receive as little as ten per cent of the funding they need in the next two years to ensure that no child misses out.
“If the Bill goes through, then five state and territory signed funding agreements in NSW, SA, Tasmania, the ACT and Victoria will be torn up by the Turnbull Government leading to the loss of almost $1.5 billion for public schools in Victoria and NSW in the next two years alone.
“The crossbench needs to understand the impact of their decision today for our schools. They should stand up and face the school communities who were relying on these resources next year.
“Let the crossbench senators and politicians who supported this plan go to schools and explain why to the parents of a child who urgently needs one-on-one support with their reading, or the parent of a child who needs speech pathology.
“You cannot describe this plan as needs-based funding. Federal funding of a fixed 80 per cent of private school costs and 20 per cent of public school costs is not what the Gonski Review recommended. This will lock in the resourcing inequity that is leading to huge achievement gaps between students of different backgrounds.
“Some of the richest private schools in the nation will get funding increases up to four times greater than public schools that educate the most disadvantaged students in the nation.
“Our goal as a union for the last five years has been to get bipartisan support for all schools to be funded to the Schooling Resource Standard as quickly as possible because that is the only way to ensure no child misses out.
“We will intensify our campaigning from now until the next election to get that commitment from all political parties and to hold the elected representatives of this nation to account for their decision,” said Ms Haythorpe.