Schools’ budget pain and gain claims – Kingston

SECONDARY schools in Mordialloc, Parkdale, Keysborough, Patterson River and Mentone are set to be shortchanged by millions of dollars in federal funding over the next two years, according to figures released by the Victorian Department of Education.

The schools are among 70 statewide slated to each receive up to $1.1 million less in the short term than would have been the case under Better Schools funding, also known as the Gonski agreement, since businessman David Gonski reviewed schools’ funding for both the previous Labor and current Coalition federal governments.

A “Gonski 2.0” funding agreement officially announced in last Tuesday’s federal budget by Treasurer Scott Morrison will see public schools receive more money over 10 years but effectively less upfront than was originally proposed in the next two years.

A Victorian Education Department analysis instigated by state government ministers shows 1535 state schools will receive less in 2018 and 2019 than under the old funding plan, which still had a year to run.

The department’s figures show that, over the next two years:

  • Keysborough Secondary College will receive $1.6 million less
  • Mordialloc College $500,000 less,
  • Parkdale Secondary College $1.1 million less,
  • Patterson River Secondary College $800,000 less, and
  • Mentone Girls’ Secondary College $800,000 less.

Principals at a handful of schools called for comment last week did not respond about the state department’s figures that show over the next two years:

Federal Isaacs Labor MP Mark Dreyfus said the federal Coalition government has “again short-changed local schools”.

“Three years ago the Liberals promised no cuts to schools and then ripped away $30 billion,” he said.

“And last week they told the parents and students of Australia to be grateful they’re now only cutting $22 billion.

“Now we know that some local schools will be worse off over the next two years than under Labor’s funding plan.”

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said it was “laughable that Malcolm Turnbull is still trying to pass [the budget] off as a positive story for Victorian schools”.

“The fact is it leaves a $630 million shortfall for Victorian schools against the original agreement,” he said.

“This is more than just a number. It has a direct impact and hurts the kids that need it the most and can least afford it.

“We funded our share of the agreement for 2018 in our recent state budget because it was the right thing to do. It is really that simple.”

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 17 May 2017

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