Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Where's the Gonski funds?

Schools have been saying since last year that something dodgy has been going on with promised Gonski money. ( Not including the Federal Government reneging on the last 2 years of the promised funding- when the bulk of the money was to flow through) It simply didn't seem to be there. The former government's education minister and central office bean counters said all education funding was there in 'one big bucket'. Principals have been saying that they haven't noticed any increase in funding in fact there seems to be for many of them a decrease in funding.Below is a story from today's Age including comments from Ballarat High's principal and a promise from the new government about transparency in funding. It will be interesting to see where the money has gone.( Afterall the NSW government seems to be able to do it so should we.)
From the Age 

Experienced principals are struggling to balance their books, with some school budgets plunging into the red for the first time despite promised Gonski funding.

As students prepare to return to school next week, a number of principals say they have been forced to cut literacy and numeracy programs and spending on maintenance and student welfare to make ends meet.

It comes as the Education Department investigates the Gonski agreement and the Andrews government prepares to release details of how much extra state and federal money Victorian schools have received under the funding deal.

"I have a very good comprehension of how the budget works but this year something funny has gone on,"  Mitcham Primary School principal Ian Sloane said.

"The Gonski money doesn't appear to be there. It looks like I will be in deficit this year for the first time."

He said he had spoken to many principals who were struggling to meet salary costs.

While there has been a slight drop in enrolments at his school, Mr Sloane said he did not understand why his budget appeared to be in deficit this year.

His school has cut a maths intervention program this year due to budget constraints.  

Ballarat High School principal Gary Palmer has previously raised concerns about his school's financial situation, and said it was worsening despite strong student numbers. He has been forced to cut back on student services and welfare, science laboratory support, literacy support and maintenance costs. He has also axed three VCE subjects this year to save money.

"I'm not sure why our budget is so tight going into this year. Over the last three years we have trimmed away, but it has become more complex and difficult. I haven't seen any evidence of the Gonski funding." Three other principals confirmed they were in the red this year.

Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals president Judy Crowe said managing a deficit put a considerable burden on principals.

"Our budgets don't seem to be keeping pace with the costs of running schools. It impacts on the opportunities for students."

Labor promised ahead of the state election it would provide schools with a breakdown of how much Gonski money they had been allocated, as happens in New South Wales.

The former Coalition government was criticised for not providing schools with details of the deal, which will deliver an additional $12.2 billion of state and federal funding to Victorian schools over the next six years. The federal government has only committed to funding the first four years of the deal.

Under the Gonski model, each student is allocated a base level of funding, with loadings for disadvantage and disabilities.

Australian Education Union Victorian branch deputy president Justin Mullaly said schools looked forward to finding out how much Gonski funding they would receive for the years ahead. This would help them plan, he said.

Education Minister James Merlino said the Andrews government was working with schools to "repair the damage" and support students, families, principals and teachers.

"The department's investigations into the Gonski agreement are currently underway and in fulfilment of the Andrews Labor Government's commitment to transparency, a breakdown of state and federal funding against the Gonski agreement will be released shortly. The release of this information is part of our commitment to giving Victorian schools the support they need and ending the neglect set in train by the previous Liberal Government."

No comments:

Post a Comment