In the early hours of Friday morning, the Turnbull Government pushed through its schools funding legislation.
This new funding scheme will have very serious ramifications for all teachers and students in our public schools.
No longer a sector blind, needs-based model
All private schools across Australia will automatically now receive 80 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) from the Commonwealth, regardless of need. By contrast, public schools will receive only 20 per cent of the SRS from the Commonwealth.
All private schools also receive state funding, many above 20 per cent of the SRS. These schools will now reach 100 per cent or more of the SRS from combined federal and state funding. Public schools, however, will not reach 95 per cent of the SRS until at least 2023.
This 80:20 fixed rate enshrines in law an ongoing Federal Government commitment of 80 per cent of the SRS funding to private schools.
State-Commonwealth Agreements will not be honoured
The previous funding agreements with the states, including NSW, are unilaterally terminated. This means that the billions of dollars due from 2018 will not be delivered. For NSW schools this is estimated to be a loss of approximately $1.5 billion over the next four years. Some schools, therefore, will only receive 10 per cent of the money needed to lift student outcomes.
Ten years to six years
The original Turnbull plan was for all schools to reach the 20 per cent and 80 per cent point after ten years. Due to overwhelming pressure from public school supporters in recent weeks, this has now been reduced to six years, forcing the Turnbull Government to provide an additional $4.9 billion to meet this compressed timeframe.
Students with Disability (SWD) Funding
The Federal Government was scheduled to fully fund the SWD loading in 2015. This has not happened. Under the plan passed by the Australian Parliament this morning, students with disability will remain seriously underfunded, and indeed, in some states and territories, the SWD funding will be cut.
Reduced Commonwealth funding commitment to be picked up by the states
The Federal Government, in acknowledging the massive shortfall in their funding commitment, will attempt to force the states to lift their levels of funding or face funding cuts. This contradicts a central feature of the original Gonski model that argued that the level of government with the greatest capacity to raise revenue should do the heavy lifting.
Our schools funding campaign will continue.
We will never rest until we ensure that every public school is resourced to a level that meets all student needs.
We acknowledge that both the ALP and the Greens opposed the Turnbull plan to cut funding and, instead, called for a much greater investment in public schools.
Annual Conference (2-4 July) will determine the next steps in the campaign.
Our schools funding campaign has engaged hundreds of thousands of teachers, parents and community members across the country.
We congratulate all members for their ongoing commitment to their students, public education and our profession.
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