Private Schools Threaten "Goulburn Closure" Blackmail. Saving To Taxpayers Of $2.4 Billion Not A Cost Of $4.2 Billion

Although it now costs the taxpayer more to run many private church schools and church school systems than to fund a first class public school system, the old chesnut that private church schools save money and the public system collapse if they are not given the funding they demand to provide the privileged with further privileges, we are once again being threatened with a "flood" of private school children enrolled in public education.

According to the Independent Schools Council of Australia. if the "Goulburn Closure" of the late 1960s were to be "replayed" and every privately educated child in Australia moved into a government school, the cost to the taxpayer would be an additional $4.2 billion.

Mark Latham and the Labor Party,  not to mention public school system supporters, should call their bluff.

Not only would the enrolment of private school students in our public system be of benefit to both the students individually and the society as a whole.

It would save the taxpayer money.

This is not only due to the every increasing taxpayer contribution in direct and indirect grants. This is because the private church schools duplicate, triplicate and quadruplicate public school facilities. This is both inefficient and uneconomic. This was the finding of our nineteenth century forebears who discovered that the principle of the denominational system was to provide expensive, sectarian education for the few while leaving the majority uneducated.

Since the 1960s the DOGS have been arguing that private school interests are purveying untruths about the true cost of educating private school students in the public sector. Since the 1960s private church schools have been wilfully and deliberately employing the inaccurate yardstick of "average cost" of a pupil in a public school rather than the marginal cost of a public school pupil. Unfortunately for the public system and its supporters politicians and bureaucrats, in spite of DOGS demanding the use of marginal or incremental costing procedures, have refused to compile these figures.

They have also argued that every child that is currently enrolled in a private school will be shifted to the public system. This is nonsense. Going on experience before State Aid to church schools was reintroduced in this country in the 1960s, at least one fifth to one quarter of the pupils would not leave the church system.

Finally, in 2004 a Mark Drummond in research for his PhD has estimated that the average marginal cost for educating each individual child in the public system is approximately $4,500.00 per pupil. Assuming that one fifth of the pupils in the private religious sector would not shift across to the public sector, this would lead to an increase in costs of $3.96 billion. However, presently the State and Federal Governments are providing church schools with $5,800 per pupil in direct grants alone. This does not account for the indirect grants enjoyed by church schools but NOT public schools by virtue of the fact that under our tax system they are categorised as charities.

On the basis of the direct grant costs alone the inclusion of four fifths of the private church school pupils in the public sector would yield a saving to taxpayers of $2.4 billion, not an increase cost of $4.2 billion.

If the indirect grants were also calculated the saving would be considerably greater.