Government facing backlash over school funding cuts

The report showed disparity in school funding (Bigstock)

Federal funding has been cut at hundreds of Catholic schools across Australia, including in the politically-critical areas of Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and regional NSW, a new study shows. Source: The Australian.

An independent report into the Catholic school funding crisis has shown a breakdown by diocese that also exposes the government for the first time to a political backlash from the sector in Queensland.

The report shows that Catholic education in the ACT is the worst affected; Broken Bay and Broome Diocese schools also face real funding cuts until 2028.

Fee increases and potential school closures are on the agenda in parts of Australia.

The Port Jackson Partners report shows that average funding for schools in the Brisbane archdiocese will go backwards in a potentially electorally explosive result. The report, commissioned by the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese, shows flatlined funding to the main diocese in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide over the life of the funding deal.

Canberra-Goulburn Catholic Education director Ross Fox said the data showed the cuts were national. He urged an overhaul of the funding system.

“What is now clear is that the new funding model delivers funding cuts to hundreds of Catholic schools well beyond Canberra,” he said. “This will deliver a hit to cost of living for many parents through increased fees. It is difficult to reconcile these findings with reassurances from the government that funding is increasing for all but a very small number of schools.”

But the report also shows the funding picture is complex. At the state level, most Catholic education systems receive more overall – or roughly the same funding – over the next 10 years.

But there is a clear funding disparity, where many schools technically don’t receive enough money but others do, enabling the government to argue it is providing Catholic schools more money overall.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: “Federal funding is projected to jump by $2.9 billion over the next decade for the eight state or territory Catholic education authorities, well above inflation at 3.7 per cent per student per year, and they retain the right to distribute this record and growing funding across their schools according to their assessment of need.”

FULL STORY

Catholic schools face fee hikes over funding brawl (The Australian

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