Member survey confirms inexplicable shortage of funds for kindergartens
- A recent change in the funding model of what was previously known as Disability Inclusion Support for Queensland Kindergartens (DISQK) now known as the Kindergarten Inclusion Support Scheme (KISS). This has led to lesser funds being available to assist children with disabilities in centres across the state.
- Over 50 per cent of IEUA-QNT members working in Queensland kindergartens who responded to a recent survey reported their centre had not received the quantum of funding they applied for, with many attributing the lack of funds to mismanagement by the Central Governing Bodies (CGBs).
- Prior to 2019, the DISQK program meant kindergartens could individually apply to the Department of Education for additional funding, but now they must apply through their CGBs, which has created funding access issues.
Funding management failure made clear
Reports that Central Governing Bodies (CGBs) of community kindergartens in Queensland are mismanaging Kindergarten Inclusion Support Scheme (KISS) funding has raised concerns for members working in this sector.
Our union recently investigated the reported failure to manage funding via an IEUA-QNT member survey. The survey provided key insights into members’ experience with KISS funding provisions for 2019.
The results from the survey confirmed there was an inexplicable shortage of funds for many Queensland kindergartens, and this has been identified as a serious issue by our union in representations to the relevant state government department.
We will continue to argue for reasonable levels of funding with both the Department of Education as well as major CGBs.
New model creates more work for less funding
The survey also highlighted a number of issues members have had with the new application process itself, with one respondent commenting that they had been doing special needs applications for over 10 years and this year’s process had been the most time-consuming they have ever undertaken.
The new process has left members feeling frustrated with 75 per cent of respondents commenting negatively about the new application process.
When asked to describe the efficiency of the KISS application process, members responded with comments such as “completely inefficient”, “a mess”, “slow and complicated” and “very, very arduous and difficult”.
One respondent noted that there had been no allowance for time, and they have had to provide more paperwork than previous years, which impacted on their consideration as to whether or not to continue in the profession.
Others responded that this year they have had to invest more of their personal time and general non-contact time to support children’s inclusion than ever before. Some members stated that when there are multiple children that KISS is being sought for, the process becomes overwhelming.
Changes cause shortfall
A number of respondents who are still waiting for their funding reported that their CGB had already spent the entirety of the KISS funding and had to ask the state government if they could provide more for those kindergartens that missed out.
Of those respondents who have received funding, many also reported that it was a significantly lower amount this year compared to previous years.
A respondent stated that for one child – for whom they received $8,000 in 2018 under DISQK – they have received only $3,000 in 2019 under the new KISS model - this for the same child with the same disabilities.
Our unions Senior Industrial Officer John Spriggs will meet with the Assistant Director General of the Department of Education to disuses the survey results on 11 November 2019, in the interim our union will also write to the CGB’s on the issue.