The Facts About School Funding in Victoria

Total government funding per student in Victorian private schools adjusted for inflation (“real funding”) increased by over $1,500 per student between 2009 and 2017 while funding for public schools was cut. Government funding of public schools increased during the Gonski funding period of 2013-2017, but it was significantly less than the increase for private schools.

Commonwealth Government funding increases massively favoured private schools in both periods. The Victorian Government cut real funding of public schools by $530 (-6.8%) per student between 2009 and 2013. It increased real funding in the Gonski period, but not sufficiently to offset the earlier cut. As a result, public schools had far fewer human and material resources per student in 2017 than in 2009 and far less than available in private schools.

Government funding increases have been badly mis-directed in favouring the more privileged, better-off school sectors and students. Over 80% of disadvantaged students in Victoria are in public schools and nearly 90% of disadvantaged schools are public schools.

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The Facts About School Funding in NSW

Total government funding per student in NSW private schools adjusted for inflation (“real funding”) increased by over seven times that for public schools between 2009 and 2017. Even during the Gonski funding period of 2013-2017 the funding increase for private schools was three times that for public schools.

While the NSW Government increased current dollar funding of public schools between 2013 and 2017, it failed to cover rising costs. Real funding was cut by $202 (-2.4%) per student after cutting funding by $394 (-4.4%) per student between 2009 and 2013. It means public schools have fewer human and material resources per student.

The NSW Government took the opportunity of increased Commonwealth funding for public schools to cut its own real funding of public schools while maintaining funding for private schools.

Government funding increases have been badly misdirected in favouring the more privileged, better-off school sectors and students. About 85% of disadvantaged students in NSW are in public schools and 96% of disadvantaged schools are public schools.

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The Facts About School Funding in Australia

This is a summary of a new Education Research Paper published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

New figures show that total government funding per student in public schools adjusted for inflation (“real funding”) was cut between 2009 and 2017 while funding for Catholic and Independent schools increased massively. Even during the Gonski funding period of 2013-2017 the funding increase for private schools was over three times the increase for public schools.

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More Studies Show That Money Really Does Matter in Education

Three new US studies have found that increasing funding for disadvantaged students increases school results. They bring to 21 the number of studies in the last five years showing that funding increases targeted at disadvantaged students improves achievement. This is a remarkable degree of unanimity amongst education economists. Even notorious sceptics of the worth of increasing school spending such as Professor Eric Hanushek from Stanford University (USA) and The Economist magazine have been forced to concede that money matters for disadvantaged students.

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How Money Matters

The following is a summary of a new report from the Learning Policy Institute in the United States on school finance reform. It reviews reforms by four US states to undertake progressive school funding strategies in order to substantially improve learning opportunities for all students. It provides recommendations for federal and state policies to address funding inequalities that contribute to the cycle of poverty. It shows that money matters when it comes to improving schools and that how money is spent is critical.

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New School Facilities Matter for Student Achievement

A paper presented to the annual conference of the American Economic Association in January that examined the largest school construction program ever in the United States found strong evidence that it lead to improvements in test scores, attendance and student effort. It also found that the construction program increased neighbourhood house prices.

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Teacher Unions Benefit Schools and Students

Strong teacher unions are critical to improving equity in school funding according to a new study published in the academic journal Review of Economics and Statistics. They also play a major role in translating funding increases into increases in student achievement.

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Funding Increases for Private Schools Continue to Outstrip Increases for Public Schools

New funding figures show that government funding increases for private schools continue to far outstrip increases for public schools. Total government funding per student in public schools was cut between 2009-10 and 2016-17 while private schools received a massive increase. Even during the Gonski funding period of 2012-13 to 2016-17 increases in funding for private schools far outstripped those for public schools.

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Greater Equity in School Funding Increases Intergenerational Mobility

Numerous studies over the past decade or more show that increases in school funding increase student achievement, school completion rates, post-school education and labour market outcomes particularly for disadvantaged students. Now, a new US study shows that more equitable funding of schools increases intergenerational income mobility. Equalisation in school spending closes the gap in investments on the education of low- and high-income students, and this promotes equalisation in their later life outcomes.

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