The talk surrounding schooling is most often about equity. One of the many pre-emptive comments ahead of last week’s release of the Gonski Report on education funding was from Bishop Greg O’Kelly of the South Australian rural diocese of Port Pirie.
He queried whether it would address the punishingly high costs of providing quality schooling in country Australia. Information technology, formation of staff, bus travel for students, provision for students with special needs, recruitment costs, school building construction and maintenance, teacher accommodation are all more costly in regional areas.
“The harsh reality is that there is a cost premium for every activity undertaken by a country Catholic school. We do not begrudge the extra loadings allocated to Government schools. We agree with them. However, Catholic schools simply do not have the resources to match them, and this represents a failure in equity.”
Bishop O’Kelly: Will the Gonski Review redress inequity in Catholic schools? (ABC Religion and Ethics)