Every Victorian public school student will be $848 worse off every year under the Turnbull government's plans for school funding, according to state Education Department figures.
As the school funding wars heat up, Victorian Education Minister James Merlino has warned of a widening gulf between wealthy private schools and poor state schools.
Federal education minister Simon Birmingham has admitted that some wealthy private schools are over-funded and could lose money once funding reforms are implemented. Vision courtesy ABC.
A department analysis released by Mr Merlino shows that Victorian public school students would bear the brunt of the federal government's decision to abandon the final two years of the Gonski agreement, while each private school student would be short-changed by $66 a year from 2019.
"Having the federal government ripping Victoria off in the order of $1 billion hurts us all immensely," Mr Merlino said.
But federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham hit back, and said the department had plucked the figures "out of thin air" to help the Andrews government play political games with children's futures.
"These figures may as well have been plucked from the back of one of the Andrews government's union-controlled fire trucks," he said.( What a truely stupid and immature thing to day!)
He accused the Andrews government of being hypocrites and said they had not committed to funding their share of the so-called Gonski agreement, which he described as a "hotch-potch of deals" with different states.
He said there would be no cuts to education – with federal funding growing from $16 billion this year to $20.1 billion in 2020.
The federal government recently kicked off negotiations with the states and territories on a new four-year school funding model from 2018, which would replace Labor's Gonski deals.
The school funding debate flared up a fortnight ago after Mr Birmingham said some wealthy private schools were over-funded and could lose money under the federal government's plans.
Victorian state school students receive the least public funding in the country. Each state school student received $13,924 in combined government funds in 2013-14, which is $2253 less than the national average.
Mr Merlino said the former Coalition state government's cuts to education had led to a situation where wealthy private schools received larger funding increases than poorer state schools.
"That is the perversion we have seen," he said. "That will be exacerbated if the federal government walks away from Gonski. That disparity would worsen."
He accused the Turnbull government of short-changing Victorian schools by $1 billion a year and said Victoria now needed to rethink the way it funded schools. But Mr Merlino defended controversial legislation introduced by the Andrews government which guarantees that Victorian Catholic and independent schools receive at least 25 per cent of the state government funding given to public schools.
A review of school funding by former Labor premier Steve Bracks said that if the federal government walked away from the final years of the Gonski agreement, Victoria should focus its funding on where it would have the greatest impact, "prioritising the needs of the most disadvantaged students".
Mr Merlino said future funding would be considered ahead of the budget, which would reflect the government's commitment to education.
Emma Rowe, a lecturer at Deakin University's school of education, said the current funding model needed to be overhauled because it was based on entitlement, rather than need.
She said it lacked transparency, and schools received funding from too many sources which overlapped each other.
"There seems to be a correlation between high levels of funding and high SES students," she said. "Low SES schools tend to be the minority that miss out."