Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Funding furore

Victorian schools were short-changed $50 million by the former state government under the Gonski school funding deal, an investigation by the new Labor government has revealed.The shortfall does no more than confirmed our suspicions. Afterall how can our school budgets be getting tighter despite the promised Gonski funding, and some schools had been forced to cut student support services and programs.It didn’t make sense to principals even if the former government believed their own hollow rhetoric.
It is believed the needs-based funding, which is supposed to address disadvantage in the education system, was used by the former state government to run schools and pay for teacher salary increases. There was effectively no money to tackle disadvantage.Details of the deal struck by the Napthine government have begun to be revealed as part of an Education Department investigation ordered by the Andrews government.The investigation was ordered amid concerns raised by principals, who said they could not see extra funding in their school budgets. "Schools are absolutely right when they say we haven't see one cent. There has been no additional funding for addressing disadvantage, and that's because there is a funding shortfall," Mr Merlino said.
Mr Merlino said Labor would reveal exactly how much federal and state funding each school had received under the deal, which will bring an additional $12.2 billion in state and federal funding to Victorian schools over the next six years.He called on the federal government to commit to the final two years of the deal.Mr Merlino said indicative budgets given to schools in September would detail how much Gonski funding they were receiving.
The new government’s transparency is welcome and should help all schools. Details of the six-year deal were revealed for the first time on yesterday (refer to me previous blog entry) in a report by the Auditor-General that was tabled in State Parliament. It showed that in 2015 the state committed $370 million to schools under the deal, while the federal government tipped in $583 million. It showed that state and federal funding originally committed for year six of the agreement - $4.3 billion - is greater than the first three years combined

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