Secret data exposes proposed $4.6bn Catholic school funding cuts

An image from NCEC funding social media campaign (NCEC)

The multi-billion dollar transfer of taxpayer money from Catholic schools to public schools under the government's Gonski 2.0 funding model has been exposed in secret data, The Canberra Times reports.

The Department of Education data shows public schools would receive a $4 billion windfall over the next 10 years at the expense of Catholic schools, which would be $4.6bn worse off under the proposed legislation.

The secret data, which was given to the Senate crossbench ahead of a crucial vote this week, examines how public, Catholic and private schools around the country would be affected by the Senate's decision to block or support the new funding model.

It shows Catholic schools would lose $705 million over the next four years if the new model is passed while public schools would gain $693m. The private school sector would see little change, picking up just an extra $12m over the next four years.

The modelling obtained by Fairfax Media is based on a conservative "best case" scenario of how Education Minister Simon Birmingham would respond if its legislation is blocked.

National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) executive director Christian Zahra said: "Minister Birmingham and his Coalition colleagues need to think long and hard about if they want this attack on Catholic education to be their legacy."

Fairfax Media revealed on Saturday the Turnbull government was prepared to strike a deal with the Greens that would meet all the party's major negotiating demands.

Labor education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said the Greens should not do a "dodgy" deal with the Coalition.

"The only proposal that's on the table at the moment is a $22bn cut to schools, with the hardest cuts hitting public schools," she said.

In a statement released by NCEC yesterday, Mr Zahra said: "We call on the Minister to stop trying to rush this policy through the Parliament and let the current funding arrangements roll over into 2018.

"This would give him time to enter into a genuinely collaborative process that would deliver true needs-based funding for students in all schools across all sectors."

FULL STORY

Revealed: How Gonski 2.0 would rip money from Catholic schools to boost public school spending (The Canberra Times)

Minister's own department exposes his cuts to Catholic schools (NCEC)

RELATED COVERAGE

Australian Politics Live: Crossbench in focus over Gonski 2.0 (The Australian)

Gonski 2.0: Greens threaten to hold out for more school funding, watchdog (The Australian)

Minister's 'whatever it takes' approach will hurt Catholic school families (NCEC)

Catholic schools and families unite to defend school choice (Catholic School Parents Australia/NCEC)

School funding facts website (NCEC)

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