Schools say new deal keeping kids away
Western Australia’s Opposition is taking shots at the state’s new education funding model.
They say it is inflexible and leaving public schools and students short-changed.
‘Student-centred funding’ has been rolled-out in recent months, and the Government says it will provide funding on a per student basis, giving schools a ‘one-line budget’.
Many schools say their funding has been cut under the new model, but the State Government maintains the system is simpler, fairer and better for distributing resources.
The Opposition has jumped on reports that West Beechboro Primary School principal Ray Boyd has sent a message to school about the school’s failure in a bid to secure funding for an extra 30 students, which was rejected by the Department of Education.
“As you would all be aware, we were unsuccessful in getting any retrospective funding,” Mr Boyd said in the school newsletter.
“To this end, my faith in the student-centred funding model was shattered.”
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan says the primary school estimated it had been left hit with a $200,000 funding reduction.
“Because of their school funding model, they have penalised one of the best schools in Western Australia and it begs the question, what is happening in other primary schools across this state?” Mr McGowan said.
He said the principal and the school were being punished for their success.
“Because he has been a careful financial manager, because he has run one of the best schools in the state, this school and these parents are being penalised,” he said.
“That is hardly a fair, equitable or even reasonable way to run the education system in Western Australia.”
Education Minister Peter Collier dismissed the claims, arguing that student-centred funding had actually delivered an extra $178,000 to the school.
“This primary school, like the vast majority of primary schools throughout Western Australia, is getting a lot more money this year than they've ever received before,” he said.
“Our schools in Western Australia remain the highest resourced schools in the nation by far.”
Mr Collier said the department assessed all applications for special funding to allow more students to attend a school, and that in the case of West Beechboro Primary School, additional students could attend without the need for extra money.
“His school numbers are still well within the bounds of constraints of the enterprise agreement. Well within the bounds. There's no issue there,” he said.