Catholic school chiefs warn Greens will cut funding

Funding for Catholic schools could be at risk if the Greens win the balance of power at tomorrow’s election (Bigstock)

Catholic school authorities are writing directly to families in key electorates to advise that funding arrangements are at risk should the Greens win influence at the federal election. Source: The Australian.

In letters targeting seats where the Greens have strong prospects, including Kooyong, Higgins and Macnamara in Victoria, and Grayndler and Wentworth in NSW, the heads of several Catholic education offices warn that the party’s platform makes clear its aim to redirect federal funding away from some Catholic schools.

“There is a chance that the Greens could hold significant influence in the next Australian Senate, which could put the Catholic education funding commitments from the Coalition and the ALP at risk,” says the letter. The missive follows a similar newsletter sent to Catholic school families and comes as debate heats up about school funding.

The Grattan Institute released research this week highlighting how funding growth to non-government schools has outpaced that of public schools, which was seized upon by public education advocates as proof the Coalition’s schools funding policy had failed.

However, the period analysed was for the decade to the end of June 2017, when the Coalition’s funding reform, dubbed Gonski 2.0, had not yet come in.

According to official schools funding data, the commonwealth lifted its contribution to government schools 164 per cent over the period, despite the main responsibility resting with the states. Combined state and territory expenditure rose just 41 per cent.

The Grattan Institute claims that when student numbers and teacher wages are taken into account, the states’ spending on public schools fell 6 per cent.

University of Western Australia education policy expert Glenn Savage said the original Gonski model, which aimed to deliver fairer needs-based funding, was rolled out by Labor but the Coalition “has actually taken us closer to the ideal by delivering a more consistent model nationally. The issues are not just about the feds anyway, because state governments share a great deal of the blame.”

Greens education spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi has stood by her plan to redistribute some funding away from the non-government sector, saying she refuses to apologise for “standing up for disadvantaged public schools”.


Catholic school chiefs highlight Greens’ threat (The Australian

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