Education takes hammering in Tasmanian budget
The Tasmanian Government has announced cuts to a range of education and skills initiatves in the state budget in a bid to save $190 million over the next four years.
Commenting on the portfolio's $1.3 billion allocation, the Minister for Education and Skills Nick McKim said some tough decisions had been necessary.
Areas of spending cuts include:
- class size initiatives in prep to year one, year 2 to year 6 and year 7 will be discontinued;
- closure of up to 20 schools;
- the Accommodation Allowance for Tertiary Students will be closed to new applicants while existing beneficiaries will be allowed to continue to receive entitlements according to the terms of the current scheme;
- limitation of the total number of new school psychologists to four.
- funding that currently supports one-off projects for apprentices and trainees who are employed by group training organisations to be withdrawn.
- the Academy, the Polytechnic and the Tasmanian Skills Institute will be required to achieve 2.5% efficiency savings on their PY10 activities;
- a 5% cut to the Non-Government General Educational Grant;
The budget has set tough savings targets over the next four years, with education agencies expected to prune $45.9 million from their spending in 2011-12, rising to $56 million in 2012-13, then $49 million and $38.9 million in the following two years .
Savings strategies set out in the budget papers include:
- implementing the Renewing our Education System process;
- extending the Voluntary Workforce Renewal program;
- deferring the full roll-out of the new Child and Family Centres;
- establishing a single corporate services model;
- ceasing targeted funding allocated to reduce class sizes;
- reducing the level of non-government general educational grant funding;
- gaining efficiencies through revised organisational and operational structures;
- deferring some capital investment projects; and
- gaining efficiencies in post year 10 activities and learning services.
Areas where new allocations have been made include:
- Additional $2 million funding for the Early Years and Launching into Learning (LiL) program - total funding $6.4 million;
- Additional $2 million for Raising the Bar Closing the Gap 7 Up initiative – total funding $5 million;
- Additional $825,000 to support operating costs for newly established Learning and Information Network Centres ( LINC’s);
- Additional $500,000 for the development of a Student Support Module as part of the Safe and Secure Schools;
- Additional $1.1 million for Innovative Education – total funding $1.6 million; and
- $16.7 million to support the continuation of the Productivity Places Program (in partnership with the Australian Government).
Continuing education initiatives include:
- $2.8 million to continue the implementation of the Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan;
- $100,000 to expand the Schools Breakfast Program;
- $50,000 to support the Tasmanian Centre for Global Learning for programs that enhance student engagement with the wider community.
Nearly $65 million has been allocated in the department’s Capital Investment Program for the 2011-12 financial year which includes:
- $2.5 million to allow construction to begin on the Port Sorell School in August 2011
- $3.2 million towards the establishment of four Learning and Information Network Centres (LINC’s);
- $7.6 million for the completion of three more Trade Training Centres under the Australian Government National Partnership.
The State Government also announced $16.7 million in partnership with the Australian Government which will allow apprentices and trainees to access training grants.
More details about the State Budget are here.