AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 307
RUDD’S $26 BILLION FUNDING GIFT TO
PRIVATE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS
The above was a front page heading in the Sydney Morning Herald of August 24, 2009.
The $26 billion referred to the inequitable SES funding system introduced by the Hoard Government and continued by the Rudd Government. The windfalls of public money provided to wealth6ty religious schools in NSW are listed. But there is no front page heading like this, or indeed any exposure of the billions of dollars of State Aid showered on Victorian religious schools in The Age.
Even so, the Sydney Morning Herald only lists the direct recurrent grants from the federal Treasury, leaving aside the direct grants from the States, and the indirect grants provided by taxation exemptions to both private sector schools and parents.
The Sydney paper’s education editor, Anna Patty reports that the Rudd Government will delivered an estimated 32 per cent increase in funding to private schools, raising their national windfall to more than $26.2 billion over the next four years.
Despite a federal Department of Education review which uncovered entrenched ‘inequities’ in the system Kevin Rudd remains committed to maintaining the Howard Government’s controversial funding arrangemen6ts for private schools until 2012.
This means that Labor will release more than $2 billion in ‘overpayments’ during the next four years to schools that receive more than their strict entitlements under the Commonwealth funding system. This measure the socioeconomic status of each school community using census data has long since been discredited by the Commonwealth Education bureaucracy itself as well as the teacher unions.
How has this happened?
The previous (and now the Rudd) government struck a ‘no losers’ pact with schools whose funding would have fallen after the existing model was introduced in 2001. In this way, any semblance of a ‘needs’ policy became a ‘greeds’ policy. The big winners? The Roman Catholic schools system wanted to maintain their levels at any cost, and they have maintained funding for even schools with wealthy parents automatically.
The Greens in NSW have estimated that already wealthy independent schools in Sydney, including Trinity Grammar, The King’sSchool, Newington, Moriah and St Andrew’s Cathedral School will receive funding increase of up to $5.3 million each over four years. Their total State Aid for that period will
The Greens MP John Kaye has blown the whistle on the extraordinary windfalls to wealthy private schools in NSW. His research indicates that Sydney’s wealthiest schools make annual surpluses of up to $3.6 million after generating as much as $28 million in tuition fees and $8 million in donations. Many have also been given $3 million from the Federal Government’s $14.7 billion primary school building program.
What is the Rudd Governments answer to this national education funding scandal?
Julia Gillard says the SES model would be reviewed next year ‘in an open and transparent process’, adding that ‘funding for non-government schools reflects increased enrolments at those schools’.
DOGS are waiting for Julia Gillard to take note of the Auditor General’s Report on the Funding of Non-Government Schools and offer not only an open and transparent process on the collection of proper enrolment and financial data from religious schools, but also genuine public accountability for the billions of taxpayer dollars poured into the private sector.
DOGS also ask will our Greens Senators in Victoria follow the example of Dr. John Kaye in New South Wales ?
DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION AND STOP STATE AID TO PRIVATE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS.
Listen to the DOGS program
3CR, 855 on the A.M. dial
12 Noon Saturdays