Call for education funding to be restored in mid-year economic review

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The Education Alliance said the upcoming Mid Year Economic Review was an opportunity for the Barnett Government to show it would listen to the community and restore funding to education.

The government has cut almost $200 million from school budgets over the last year, putting immense pressure on schools. 

SSTUWA President Pat Byrne said the education of students was suffering. 

“We understand that the government has some current budgetary problems, but education is the last place money should be cut from,” she said.

Ms Byrne said the area the cuts were having the biggest impact in was special programs.

“The government slashed funding for special programs by 30%, which means many schools are no longer able to offer the programs that students need to improve literacy, numeracy, behaviour and attendance,” she said.

“If the government will not commit to putting back all the money it slashed from school budgets, then it should at the very least put back the $16.2 million it has taken from specialist, remediation and support program funding for disadvantaged students.”

United Voice Secretary Carolyn Smith said the Alliance also wanted the government to return the $4.7 million it cut for Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers.

“The work of the AIEOs is critical to keeping Aboriginal students in schools,” she said.

“They go above and beyond, often dealing with issues at home and health issues as well as school work.

“Mr Barnett and the Liberal Government should be ashamed of themselves for letting down the Aboriginal community in this way,” she said.

Branch Assistant Secretary of the CPSU/CSA Rikki Hendon said under the Barnett Government, support to ensure the smooth functioning and administration of schools had been slashed, while demands on schools had increased.

“The transition of Year 7s to secondary school, for example, is a significant change for our schools to adapt to,” she said.

“The government needs to re-inject staff and funding into the public education system to ensure our schools can cope with this change.”

Ms Byrne said more than 5,300 people had already signed a petition calling for the government to reverse the cuts and to adequately fund WA’s public schools.

“The public is very concerned about the impact these cuts are having on students, with 20% of petition respondents commenting that education is an investment in the future of our society which should be properly funded,” she said.

“Another 20% of people who signed the petition are those who work in the education system and are concerned about the impact of the cuts on their students.

“The third top reason for signing the petition is that people are unhappy with this government and the decisions it’s making.

“Many of the comments suggest that the education cuts are a factor in the government losing public support, and we think it’s time the government paid attention to what people are saying.”

The petition can be found at: http://www.change.org/p/petition-to-reverse-colin-barnett-s-education-cuts

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