Secondary students big losers in state budget

The State School Teachers’ Union of WA is very concerned that spending on high school students will be significantly reduced following the release of the state budget.

Funding for secondary schools will decrease by $337 per student, which will translate to a loss of over half a million dollars for some high schools.

“The budget papers show that the amount spent per student in 2013/14 is $19,700, while the projection for 2014/15 is $19,363. This is a loss of $337 per student,” said SSTUWA Senior Vice President Lincoln Rose.

“Our biggest concern is that these cuts come on top of the $180 million in cuts that the Barnett Government has already made to school budgets.

“While the education budget has increased overall, a large proportion of this spending is on infrastructure which is needed to accommodate the thousands of new students coming into the system.

“School budgets, which are spent on programs and the education of students, are still facing cuts.”

Mr Rose said the $188 million extra announced in the budget would not cover the sector’s growth or the increase in student numbers.

“When taking into account inflation and WA’s population growth, the education budget has not gone up in real terms.”

He said the cuts to the student resource allocations for secondary students would undermine the introduction of the student-centred funding model, based on the Teese report.

“By cutting school budgets before implementing the student-centred funding model, the Barnett Government is effectively engaging in a sleight of hand,” he said.

“The model was never intended to be implemented with cuts, which has been pointed out by Professor Teese himself.

“It will only work properly if there is additional funding, not simply rearranging existing funds.”