May 03

SCHOOL FUNDING REFORMS GET AN A-

The reforms to school funding announced by the Federal government on 2 May 2017 are to be welcomed.

Of greatest significance is the pledge of extra funding to Australian schools from $17.5 billion in 2017 to $30.6 billion by 2027. Cynics will suggest that the actual delivery of this benefaction will fall on politicians not making this pledge. But nonetheless, the promise is encouraging, and all the more so because the increase is above anticipated inflation.

Also commendable is the sweeping away of special funding deals. The Prime Minister made much of Labors 27 special deals with states and territories and Gillard saying that no school would lose a dollar, thus preserving the overfunding of some non-government schools. However, it is worth pointing out that the no losers funding policy was birthed in 2001 by David Kemp in the Howard government.

Requiring all schools to be guided by one funding policy is an excellent initiative. If it happens, then it will deserve the Very brave, Prime Minister tagline because the Catholics are likely to get upset.

Some prominent Catholic schools have had their high funding levels maintained by being allowed to be funded according to average Catholic school wealth. If the funding reforms are instituted, several of these schools, will feel the pinch.

To bring reduced funding in overnight would be irresponsible because non-government schools typically plan their budgets several years in advance. The Turnbull Government have allowed ten years for these schools to readjust to the new funding model. This is sensible.

David Gonskis out of the wedding cake appearance at the funding announcement was impressive. Why? Because Gonskis integrity is significant and his knowledge of the funding issue is unmatched. The mealy-mouthed reception his needs-based funding reforms received in 2011 by several key members of the current government, bears rare witness to common sense now prevailing over cheap political posturing.

Particularly encouraging is that Gonski is being employed to advise how to spend the extra funding money. Hallelujah! Educators have long been saying that money will not improve schools. However, money spent wisely will improve our schools.

So all in all, the Turnbull/Birmingham announcements about school funding reform are to be welcomed. Im giving it an A-.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.timhawkes.com/school-funding-reforms-get-an-a/

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