Confusion reigns as school goes back

The State School Teachers’ Union said as students returned to school today, Principals were still scrambling to make sense of their budgets.

The union said Principals were still confused about exactly how much money they had under the move to a new funding model, after they were given one set of figures last July, another set on the last day of school and yet another last week.

“On the last day of school last year, some Principals found out that they had between $400,000 and $1 million dollars less in transition funding than they were originally lead to believe, which threw their budget planning into chaos,” said SSTUWA President Pat Byrne.

“Principals have been telling us that they still don’t know exactly how all these changes are going to affect their schools.

“They have been planning programs and appointing staff in good faith, based on the figures given to them in the middle of last year.

“Now they don’t know if they can still afford to run vital programs such as engagement programs aimed at encouraging student attendance and participation, additional literacy support programs, or specialist music and maths programs.”

Ms Byrne said about 2/3 of schools had been given the wrong set of budget figures and had had to make changes over the schools holidays.

“Schools leaders would love to start the school year feeling refreshed and organised,” she said.

“Instead, they have come back to school feeling stressed after spending their holidays trying to make sense of their budgets to ensure that any negative impact on their schools is kept to a minimum.

“If students and parents do not notice major changes in their schools, it is because of the dedication and hard work of their school leaders, who have had to compensate for the incompetence of the Minister.”