Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Glen Park will lose $100 000

Victorian public schools will miss out on $1.1 billion over 2018 and 2019 unless the Turnbull government commits to the final two years of the Gonski agreement, an analysis by the state's education department reveals.

And the schools that stand to lose the most – up to $4.6 million a year – accommodate the poorest students.

The Andrews government, which is yet to commit to the final two years of the funding deal, is using the analysis to ramp up pressure on the federal government.

According to the department's modelling, Victorian schools will be shortchanged an average $500,000 every year from 2019 unless the Turnbull government funds the final two years of the agreement.

Northern Bay P-12 College in Geelong is the biggest loser, and stands to miss out on between $3.4 and $4.6 million every year from 2019.

Principal Fred Clarke said that without the money, he would be unable to make a long term difference to "really bright" disadvantaged students.

"We want everyone here to be successful and get a job otherwise they will be on welfare," he said. "Spending on education is a wise investment."

The school would have to axe its psychologist and speech therapist, an innovative program that extends the school day until 5pm, and a childcare centre that helps young mums who are students.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said the federal government's decision to walk away from the Gonski deal meant less teachers and worse educational outcomes.

"Schools don't need more Malcolm Turnbull 'selfies' , they need the Liberal government to provide the funding they promised and our schools desperately need," he said.

The state government will base its funding decisions beyond 2017 on the findings of a review by former premier Steve Bracks. It has fully funded the Gonski agreement for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Under the initial Gonski agreement, funding to schools would increase over six years to 2019, with the bulk of the money expected to flow to schools in the final two years.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said Commonwealth funding for Victorian schools would continue to increase from the current record levels, rising by $993.7 million or 27 per cent from 2014-15 to 2018-19.

"It is disingenuous of Victoria to throw too many stones in the Gonski glasshouse when they themselves are yet to commit to the $806 million additional funding required under the final two years of their agreement with the former government," Mr Birmingham said.

The federal government is seeking to strike new education funding deals with the states from 2018 -  while the federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has promised to fund Gonski in full.  

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said cash-strapped Victorian schools were in desperate need of the funds.

She said they would pay for literacy and welfare programs and integration aides.

"Money does matter. It provides additional support to individual students, allows for greater breadth in a school curriculum, and funds more teachers, welfare services, and learning specialists."

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Students with disabilities are serious victims of the refusal to adopt Gonski.
We could of course adopt the Finnish approach.

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