Smoke and mirrors characterises school funding debate
Uncertainty remains for the sector with the federal government again leaving the last two years of Gonski school funding hanging.
The government’s failure to commit to fully delivering the needs-based Gonski funding after 2017 will see schools $3.9 billion worse off in 2018 and 2019 - for Queensland schools deficit would $725 million over the two years.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham recently stated the deals made by state governments with the former Labor government should be scrapped and that some schools had been “over-funded” and would potentially face funding cuts.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the federal government clearly wants to constrict the level of funding for schools and create a new funding formula – eroding the Gonski model.
"When the Minister talks about "over funding" is talking about funding above the school resource standard as defined under the funding formula.
“It has only been four years since Gonski was established as a national benchmark for funding.
“To suddenly cut funding is a lost opportunity and harks back to the bad old days where there was fighting regularly over school funding at the expense of schools and students.
“When the Gonski review was released, IEUA-QNT members celebrated the recommendations for a new framework for school funding that offered more money for schools, in particular money for students in disadvantaged communities and for students with a disability.
It was for these reasons our union supported the principles of the Gonski funding review recommendations.”
“Without fully funding the next two years of Gonski, schools and students will miss out on the support they need.
“We need a funding model that ensures certainty, job security for members, and the assurance that there is capacity to meet the learning needs of all students.
“School funding should be predictable and sufficient for the ongoing viability of schools, without imposing additional and unreasonable expectations and workloads on already overworked education professionals.”
IEU Federal Secretary Chris Watt said our union had supported the principles of the Gonski funding review recommendations as it proposed a needs-based model; significant increases in funding rolled out over time to meet the identified but under-funded needs of many students; and indexation rates that reflected the historic cost increases in education.
“The school funding review chaired by David Gonski identified significant under-funding of student learning needs across a number of areas, and that we have significant unmet needs and learning adjustment requirements for students with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students in rural and remote locations.
“Unfortunately there is an act of illusion being played out at the moment…. being employed by the government to try to distract the community in an attempt to undermine the fundamentals of the model.
Namely, a needs-based model, founded on what it costs to educate students to meet the national curriculum benchmarks.
The ‘over-funding’ ploy is a distraction from the main game,” he said.