Department bends to loud demands
The Northern Territory Government will have to spend an extra $23 million to help schools transition to a new funding model.
The NT Government is trying to moves schools to a ‘global budgets’ model.
It means schools would be responsible for their entire budget, including teacher payroll.
Education Minister Robyn Lambley says the new funding will focus on making sure special schools and large middle and senior schools have enough money for services while making the shift.
A strong showing at teacher protests about budget cuts argued that the new system was a smokescreen for cuts to funding.
“It's well known to people in the Territory that this has been quite a controversial change,” Ms Lambley told the ABC this week.
“The transition process from the former way of funding to the new global education budgeting is going to be challenging, particularly for some schools, particularly for special schools and standalone middle and senior schools throughout the Northern Territory.
“So we've allocated this special funding ... to allow the transition to occur more seamlessly.”
She said global budgets would see more money spent on students.
“Schools will be funded based on their enrolment numbers,” she said.
“We still need to tweak that formula to make sure that schools with special needs, schools with older students perhaps, have enough to do what they need to do.”
The $23 million comes after $17 million originally allocated last year to also assist in the transition.
Northern Territory Council of Government School Organisations (COGSO) president Gerard Reid has welcomed the extra money, because the shift will be difficult.
Mr Reid told reporters that COGSO supported the move to global budgets at first, but changed its stance after it had a closer look.
“The shock hit us pretty hard when we got to the actual nuts and bolts,” he said.
“When the budget started appearing we started seeing a lot of cracks and we started seeing a lot of schools not being able to meet the services they were producing last year.”
The Australian Education Union NT branch said the new funding showed how woefully short the originally allocation was.