Saturday, 1 November 2014

Gonski Transparency

Slowly but surely education related election promises are starting to be revealed. A Labor government would reveal exactly how much extra federal and state money each school in Victoria received under the needs-based Gonski funding model.

The Napthine government has refused to outline the year-by-year funding increases as a result of the Gonski money, prompting accusations federal money is being used to cover annual increases in teacher salaries and student enrolments.

Principals have complained of a lack of transparency, saying they could not see where the Gonski money had been allocated when they received their school budgets last month.

If the NSW government can be transparent with schools and tell them how much each and every school is receiving why is it not possible in Victoria?" Mr Merlino ( Labor Party Education Spokesperson) said.

"This is the most significant reform in four decades yet in Victoria this money has gone missing."

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, indigenous students, students with poor English and disadvantaged students.

Asked to point to where the Gonski money was in the budget papers, Education Minister Martin Dixon said the money was pooled and went out to schools.

"In Victoria there is no such thing as Gonski money," Mr Dixon told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee in May.

"It is the money that the state government puts into education, it is the money that the federal government puts into education and that is the school funding. We do not treat them as two separate buckets of money."

By contrast, the NSW budget, delivered in June, included $230 million for public, independent and Catholic schools as part of the Gonski funding model.

The Victorian president of the Australian Education Union, Meredith Peace, said it was incredibly important to be transparent about how the Gonski money was allocated.

"What our schools are clearly telling us is that there is no additional money beyond what they would normally expect to receive to cover enrolment growth and pay increases that are due," she said.

I haven't noticed any significant changes in my school funding for 2015. I would find this transparency very helpful.

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