School budgets thrown into chaos on last day of school year

The State School Teachers’ Union is outraged that school budgets have been thrown into chaos on the last day of the school year.

School leaders received an email from the Department of Education this morning informing them of significant changes to their transition funding as a result of the move to the Student Centred Funding Model.

The union understands that around 2/3 of the state’s public schools will be affected.

“We are absolutely furious that the Department would leave it to the last day of the school year to inform school leaders of significant changes to their funding arrangements, as they have just spent the last 6 months planning their budgets,” said SSTUWA president Pat Byrne.

“School leaders have planned everything around one set of figures, only to now be told that those figures are wrong, which means many will have to make significant changes to their plans.

“Principals will have already made decisions to cut programs and redeploy teachers based on the figures they had, only to now find out in some instances that they did not have to make those decisions.

“Timetables have already been completed and will now have to be re-done, which is a massive amount of work.”

Ms Byrne said schools were aware that there may be some slight variations in the figures they had been given, but are today being told that their budget may change by as much as 50%.

“Schools are being told today that hundreds of thousands of dollars they thought they had in their budget is gone. What are they supposed to do now?” she said.

“It is unbelievably callous of the government to drop this in the lap of school leaders the day before they are supposed to go on leave.”

Ms Byrne said the union had been told that the Premier’s office has known for two weeks that major changes were going to be made to school budgets.

“We simply cannot believe the incompetent financial management of this government and its complete disregard for its employees, who are being treated with absolute contempt,” she said.

“The email sent out today implies the Department always knew there was going to be changes to school budgets, but the extent of these was certainly never communicated to schools.

“School leaders have worked so hard to incorporate all the changes the government has been making to education, and this is how they’re repaid,” she said.

“While it’s true that 1/3 of schools will now have more money in their budget than they had thought, they too will have to restructure their budgets and re-think programming and staffing decisions.

“They may have cut programs, which may not have been necessary.

“This may have also affected parents’ decisions on where to enrol their kids.”

Ms Byrne said 1/3 of schools would lose money, 1/3 of schools would gain and 1/3 of schools would be unaffected by the changes.