Victorian Private Schools Profited Millions from Jobkeeper

Forty Victorian private schools raked in $135 million in Jobkeeper payments in 2020 while making profits of $96 million. Twenty of the most privileged schools in the state got $94 million and made profits totalling $71 million. Just six of these raked in over $57 million and made nearly $30 million in profits. Nearly all increased their profits over the previous year with the help of Jobkeeper.

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Nobel Prize Committee Says Money Matters in Education

In awarding the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2021, the Prize Committee said that there is strong empirical proof that money matters in education. This is an incredibly significant statement from a notoriously conservative institution. It represents a new consensus that has developed in recent years that more spending on education can increase school outcomes and future earnings, especially for disadvantaged students.

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Wealthy Schools Pocket Millions in JobKeeper Funds Despite Profits

Blessed are the rich for they shall inherit more and more, especially if they are already wealthy private schools. New figures show that 700 private schools, including many of Australia’s most exclusive private schools, raked in $750 million in Jobkeeper payments despite many simultaneously running surpluses of millions. It is icing on the cake of the billions in over-funding provided under Morrison’s special deals for private schools.

The average payment was over $1 million per school. School financial statements lodged with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission show that many elite schools got millions more than this while making profits and some even increased their profits with the help of Jobkeeper.

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Money Still Matters in Education

A new study published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research shows that money still matters in education. It found that school finance reforms in the US that increased expenditure in low income school districts increased high school completion and college entrance among Black students and females as well as increasing annual earnings.

We find that school finance reforms lead to increases in educational attainment and in mean earnings. These results hold when we consider the full state population, but we generally find larger effects for Black than for white students….We also find some evidence that effects are larger for female students. [p. 5]

The study analysed the impact of what are known as “adequacy”-based school finance reforms implemented since 1990. Courts in many US states have ruled that state constitutions require adequacy in school funding. This led to increased expenditure in disadvantaged school districts above the state average to compensate for the increased costs of educating children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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A Review of the Gonski School Funding Inquiry and Report

The following is the Conclusion of a new working paper published by Save Our Schools. It provides a comprehensive review of the Gonski inquiry and its report on school funding in Australia. The full paper can be downloaded below. Comments on the paper are invited. Notification of issues not covered and mistakes of fact, analysis and interpretation will be appreciated. Please excuse any remaining typos and repetitions. Comments can be sent to the Save Our Schools email address: saveourschools690@gmail.com

The Gonski Report was a watershed in the history of school funding in Australia. It changed the whole focus of school funding from choice under the Howard Government’s SES model to making equity in education the centrepiece of education policy. It made the biggest commitment to improving equity in education in the history of school funding in Australia.

The strength of the Report was that it recognised the problem of disadvantage in Australian schooling and made serious recommendations about future funding to reduce disadvantage. It made several contributions to the development of a more equitable school funding system.

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Private Schools Brawl to Get Their Snouts Deeper in the Funding Trough

An ABC 7.30 Report last week exposed another brawl between private schools to get their snouts deeper in the school funding trough. A coalition of Independent schools complained they are disadvantaged by the Morrison Government’s new funding model because their funding increase is not as big as others. They want yet another special deal from the Morrison Government as do many other Independent schools.

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Education Dept Still Dragging its Feet on Holding Private Schools Accountable for Taxpayer Funding

Yet another damning report by the Auditor-General shows that the Commonwealth Department of Education continues to fail to fully hold private school systems accountable for how they distribute taxpayer funding. It also criticises the Minister for Education and the Department for failing to meet their parliamentary reporting obligations.

The report found that the Department has made minor improvements since the 2017 report of the Audit Office castigated the Department for failing to ensure accountability and transparency in funding of private schools. However, the new report found that the Department is still not fully meeting its legislative responsibilities eight years after the Australian Education Act was implemented.

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New Figures Reveal Increasing Resource Advantage for Private Schools

Figures recently published by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on its National Report on Schooling data portal show that income per student of Catholic and Independent schools is much higher than for public schools and that their income has increased six to eight times that of public schools since 2009. The increasing resource advantage of private schools is mainly due to much larger government funding increases than for public schools.

The resource advantage of private schools is projected to accelerate over the rest of the decade to 2029. Commonwealth funding for private schools will increase under special deals not available to public schools and bilateral funding agreements between them and the Commonwealth allow the states to continue to under-fund public schools.

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Morrison Abandons Needs-Based Funding

The following is a section from a new Working Paper published by Save Our Schools on the the abandonment of needs-based funding and the massive funding increase for private schools by the Morrison Government. The Government has completed the demolition of the Gonski funding model begun by the Abbott and Turnbull governments and re-affirmed funding choice as its priority. The paper can be downloaded below.

Comments on the paper are invited. Notification of issues not covered and mistakes of fact, analysis and interpretation will be appreciated. Please excuse any remaining typos and repetitions.Comments can be sent to the Save Our Schools email address: saveourschools690@gmail.com

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Disadvantage accelerates as private school funding rises six times public schools over the decade

Education Minister Alan Tudge has now declared that the school funding wars are over. But they are only over in the minds of the Morrison Government, which has demolished the Gonski fairer-funding model and lavished billions more on private schools.

The war is certainly not over for public schools, with new figures showing them falling further behind. Chronic under-funding of public schools presents huge costs to individuals, society and national economic prosperity.

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