As part of the latest round of budget cuts to education, the State Government announced that all Department of Education funded community Kindergartens would now be required to enrol at least 16 children rather than 10, or face losing their operational funding.
There are 17 operating metropolitan community kindergartens, down from 42 in 2001, and three operating inAlbany. Each kindy is linked to a school site and is an incorporated body with its parents management committee.
Each kindy is staffed by two qualified teachers and the space is designed specifically for kindy-aged children.
Community kindys are an option for parents and no better or worse than the local primary school kindy.
The Government must help these community kindys stay open and reverse this decision!
Case study: Bullsbrook Community Kindergarten
Bullsbrook Community Kindy have been told that if they don’t fulfil their quota by the end of July early August, they will lose their operational funding and may have to close in 2019. Currently they have 13 enrolments for next year. This year they have 17.
The DoE pays for 1 teacher 0.6FTE and one assistant 0.6FTE for the centre to open 3 days a week.
The closure would mean that DoE saves just $16,000 a year on operating costs for the centre. It would also mean the teachers would need to be redeployed within an 80km radius. Kindy teaching is a specialist skill and cannot be transferred to other age groups.
The City of Swan own the building and have just spent ratepayers money on upgrades to the ceiling, play equipment, kitchen and grass.
Bullsbrook Primary School also operates a kindy but is running at capacity with two classes of 15 children and two teachers per class. Already the school has installed a demountable to cater for the bigger classes.
Bullsbrook is expecting a population increase from 5000 to 20,000 people by 2036 with a home development planned for the next two years and no plans for another school for at least five years.
If the Bullsbrook Kindy is shut down and the Primary school cannot accommodate them, they will have to go Ellenbrook or even worse not at all because kindy is not compulsory.
It is free public education that faces closure to our youngest students who do better from an earlier education.
They could operate independently, but they would then operate as a child care centre and have to charge parents expensive day care costs.
The Union is campaigning to preserve the teaching positions within each kindy location.
Jo Mathhewson, President of Bullsbrook Community Kindy and her children Harriet, Queenie and Florence who is booked into kindy for 2022.
How will the closure of your community kindy affect where you live?