The State School Teachers’ Union is disappointed the government has announced a new funding model for WA public schools, but no new funding.
SSTUWA President Pat Byrne said the government was simply shuffling current funding around, with an increase in funding to primary schools coming at the expense of secondary schools.
“Overall, secondary schools will lose around $45 million dollars from their budgets over the five year transition period,” said Ms Byrne.
“Secondary schools can ill-afford to lose this funding, which is coming on top of the losses suffered under the $200 million dollar cut the State Government has already made to school budgets.
“This puts secondary schools in an incredibly difficult situation, where their funding is being slashed, yet they will still be expected to provide the same education standards they are currently providing.”
Ms Byrne said under the new funding model, 1/3 of public schools would lose money from their budgets. She said 13 schools would lose more than $1 million.
“On top of this, schools are dealing with the transition of Year 7’s to high school next year and an ever-increasing number of students,” she said.
“The fact is, education spending is increasing in real terms at a rate of 1.2% this financial year, while the student population is increasing at a rate of 3.4%.”
Ms Byrne said the government’s claims that ‘record funding’ was being spent in 2015 ignored the fact that spending was growing by about a third of the amount needed to keep up with student growth.
“Of course, with an increasing number of students and rising inflation, the amount spent on education simply has to increase each year. This isn’t really something to take credit for,” she said.
Ms Byrne said the union supported the idea of a student centred funding model in principle, however the model was never intended to be introduced on the back of huge cuts to school budgets.
“The author of the report on which this new funding model is based, Richard Teese, has said that he never recommended money be redirected from secondary schools to primary and he has serious concerns that this could damage secondary schools.”
Ms Byrne said the announcement of the new funding model came at a time when it had been revealed there were major maintenance issues at hundreds of schools and that teachers were already spending an average of $1,000 of their own money on school supplies.
“The Education Minister keeps talking about how well resourced our schools are, however the fact is that both the NT and ACT spend more on students on a per capita basis than his government does.”