The Victorian Principals Aassociation ( VPA) posted some thought provoking information to its members prior to the state election on the 29th.
Victorian government primary schools are underfunded and in a crisis situation
Figures in Real school expenditure showed that Victoria primary schools sat at 14.4% below the National average in the 2011-2012 year. NSW sits at 2.8% above the national average. The stark funding differential was evident before the lack of Gonski funds in Victorian schools compared to QLD and NSW.
We were promised a 4% rise in our budgets. After a careful survey of Victorian government schools comparing 2014 and 2015 proposed budgets this is clearly not the case. Nearly 50% of the schools who completed the VPA SRP survey stated that the indicative 2015 budget is below the promised figure of a 4% increase expected with Gonski funding.
Even schools previously with National Partnership Low SES funding reported that the Gonski replacement money is actually less than previously allocated in the National partnerships. How can this be the case if there is a 4% increase?
The Gonski funding initiative was rolled out with much fanfare in 2013. Just hours before the federal election was called last year, Victoria signed up to a deal that would bring an extra $12.2 billion of state and federal funding to Victorian schools over the next six years. Under the needs-based reforms, students are supposed to be allocated a base amount per student with extra loadings for disability, students with poor English, disadvantaged students and indigenous students. Once again there is no additional money in our budget beyond what we would normally expect to receive to cover enrolment growth and pay increases. This was expected to be the most significant reform in decades yet in Victoria we are wondering what is happening. This is not the same in other states, in particular NSW and Queensland have rolled significant resources out to all primary schools. ( Refer to previous posts about this)
To add salt to the wound This state government has written off almost $1.6 billion worth of public school assets as "obsolete" by the state government in a move which has "significantly" cut funding requirements for new classrooms. The Auditor General has written (another damning ) report on the State of Victoria 2013-14 visit here to read more.
I went to the Uniting Church book fair today ( they have two per year) and picked an old copy of Danny The Champion of the World, a copy of The Black Stallion and an abridged version of Tarzan. They had lots of old Ballarat East Secondary College novels there.( They must have had a big cull of their library.)
I don't normally give 'plugs' but we had lunch at Captains Creek Organic Winery ( Check out their Facebook page) which is run by one of my wife's ex-teaching friends ( she resigned to concentrate on the winery and is enjoying it. maybe that's the secret- get out and run a winery?) The wine is apparently very good and so is the food.( They have lots of organic products for sale) So if you live around Ballarat/ Daylesford then you might consider popping in.
Thanks for the email. We have certainly raised these issues with the opposition. The commitments outlined in the reps bulletin were specific ‘professional’ issues we wanted to get some clarity on. We have had many discussions with Labor about the funding issues in our schools, and specifically the difficulties facing schools in country Victoria.
Be assured, we will continue to pursue these issues leading up to the election and beyond.
AEU Victorian Branch
Mmmmm we shall see.