New figures reveal 90 per cent of WA public school students will be worse off as a result of the State Government’s education funding cuts.
Figures provided by the government have been used to compare the 2015 expenditure per student (based on enrolment projections) with the 2013 expenditure per student, which was when the funding cuts were announced.
The figures reveal that in 2015, more than 255,000 students will be worse off compared to 2013, while only 28,000 will be better funded.
On average, the expenditure per student across the state will decrease by $730.
“The government has been using smoke and mirrors to disguise the fact that it is now spending hundreds of dollars less per student than it was before it announced its funding cuts,” said SSTUWA President Pat Byrne.
“The Education Minister has been telling us that the education budget overall has been going up, and while that is the case, what he failed to disclose is that student numbers are going up at more than twice the rate of spending, meaning that per student expenditure has decreased significantly.”
Ms Byrne said while the education budget would increase in real terms by 1.2% this financial year, the student population would grow by 3.4%, meaning less money per student.
“Some Principals do not understand why they are being told by the government that their budget is increasing overall, yet they are still having to cut back on music programs, breakfast programs and specialist education programs,” she said.
“Now we can see from these figures that in 158 schools, while their overall budget has increased, their spending per student will actually decrease due to a rise in enrolments.”
United Voice Secretary Carolyn Smith said the new figures were absolute proof that the vast majority of WA kids would be worse off at school next year.
“Many of the worst affected schools are Education Support Centres,” she said.
“These centres give life-changing and critical support for students who need extra help.
“Education Assistants play a vital role in the centres and these budget cuts will impact jobs and the quality of education.”
Ms Byrne said WA students were worse off because the State Government had mismanaged its budget.
“The government is crying poor at the moment, but the fact is it has got money, it’s just choosing to spend it on things like Elizabeth Quay, the new stadium and the airport link,” she said.
“We think the government should have a good look at its spending priorities and invest more in our kids.”
CPSU/CSA Assistant Branch Secretary Rikki Hendon said that cuts to the Department of Education’s budget announced by the Premier last week would also hurt schools.
“At a time when our education system is undergoing enormous change, such as the transition of year 7s to secondary, schools need more support, not less, to ensure our kids receive the education they deserve,” she said.