The Federal government has unfairly singled out the Catholic schools sector for funding cuts that will lead to increased fees, says the National Catholic Education Commission.
Fairfax Media reports the government's "Gonski 2.0" education funding announcement yesterday will pump an extra $19 billion into schools over the next decade, but will leave some Catholic and private institutions worse off.
In a media release, NCEC acting director Danielle Cronin said a majority of the 24 schools set for a cut in funding were independent Catholic schools.
“Worse, the federal government is forcing Catholic schools to abandon a mechanism that ensures resources are distributed fairly and according to need among schools that belong to a single Catholic schools authority.”
Known as the System Weighted Average, the mechanism allows Catholic schools authorities to spread resources across diverse school communities, Ms Cronin said.
“The System Weighted Average, which the government wants to phase out over 10 years, is integral to the efficient and equitable functioning of the Catholic education system.
“It provides the mechanism through which the Catholic sector supports centrally its 1731 schools and meets locally identified need.
“Fundamentally, Catholic education believes a similar system approach to funding exists for all government school systems and is equally justifiable for Catholic school systems.”
Ms Cronin said the NCEC is "concerned that Catholic schools in some states and territories may be forced to raise fees as a result of this Government’s funding changes".
NSW Catholic Education Commission chair and Broken Bay Bishop Peter Comensoli told The Australian Catholic children and their families had a “right to fairness’’ in school funding.
“We would want to ensure that schools are not worse off as a result of this decision by the Turnbull government,’’ Bishop Peter Comensoli said.
Bishop Comensoli said he needed more detailed information but added that it was “extraordinary’’ the plan “had been announced without consultation with the second-largest provider of education in the nation’’.
Catholic leader demands ‘fairness’ on schools funding (The Australian)
Gonski 2.0: review revived for PM’s plan (The Australian)
Budget 2017: Malcolm Turnbull announces schools funding boost (The Daily Telegraph)