AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 392
ECONOMIC ARGUMENT FOR TAXPAYER FUNDING OF SECTARIAN
SCHOOLS TURNED ON ITS HEAD
2 August 2010
The private sectarian school interest has always attempted to argue that public funding of private sectarian education rather than public education saves the taxpayer money.
Their statistics have always ignored:
i. funding for capital works
i. indirect funding through a myriad of taxation exemptions
ii. the level of uneconomic duplication of facilities involved in the establishment of numerous sectarian institutions where one well funded public system would do the job.
iii. the simple fact that sectarian institutions do not provide facilities in uneconomic areas where the public system is obliged to do so.
That said, Jim McMorrow, in a recent paper on the Australian Education Union website entitled Schools Funding Futures, July 2010 has proved that even on the level of direct federal funding figures alone taxpayer funding of private sectarian education is not only disastrous for the social fabric of our heterogeneous democracy. He blows the simple economic argument out of the water:
Saves money? A further rationale for the increased public funding for non-government schools arising from the SES scheme was that it would save public money overall, when
funding from all Commonwealth and State sources was taken into account. This kind of justification for public funding of private schools has a long history in the politics of
Australian education, based on the assumption that State governments, in particular, would reduce their funding commitments for public schools, including through school
closures, when significant numbers of students moved from public schools to the private sector.
But the political and financial realities are quite different from this theoretical assumption. In 2006, for example, some 200,000 additional students were enrolled in
non-government schools compared with the 1996 level. Had these 200,000 students been accommodated instead in public schools over this decade, this would have required
additional public funding of around $2 billion. Over that same period, however, the real increase in public funding for these same students, in the non-government sector, was
more than $3 billion4, mostly provided by the Commonwealth. In other words, governments funded the additional non-government school students by $1 billion more
than would have been required for the equivalent number of students in fully publicly funded government schools.
DOGS note that it has taken billions and billions of
taxpayer dollars ( a projected $9.5 billion federal funding for sectarian
schools and only $3.1 billion for public schools) to encourage parents to divert their children
into sectarian institutions in
DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION AND STOP STATE AID TO PRIVATE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS.
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