Over-Funding of Private Schools to Increase While Public Schools Remain Under-Funded

The following is a summary of a new Education Research Paper from Save Our Schools. The paper can be downloaded below.

The current school funding arrangements are heavily biased against public schools. Private schools will be over-funded by $6 billion to 2029 while public schools will be under-funded by nearly $60 billion.

The over-funding of private schools will occur because they will be funded at over 100% of their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) until at least 2029. In contrast, public schools will only be funded at 91% of their SRS at best.

The sources of the over-funding are:

  • $2.4 billion from funding at over the Commonwealth target of 80% of the SRS;
  • $2.5 billion from funding at over the States target of 20% of the SRS;
  • $1.2 billion through the Commonwealth’s Choice and Accountability slush fund (from 2020).

This over-funding is just the tip of the iceberg. It does not include over-funding built into the new Direct Measure of Income (DMI) method of calculating the financial need of private schools. The DMI ignores income provided by grandparents and untaxed capital gains income as well as donations to private schools. This means that the financial need of schools is over-estimated and they receive even more funding than warranted.

While the Morrison Government is bent on massively over-funding private schools, it has washed its hands of adequately funding of public schools. Public schools will remain severely under-funded indefinitely according to the current funding agreements between the Commonwealth and state governments. Public schools will only be funded at 91% of their SRS by 2029. The total under-funding from 2021 to 2029 will amount to $57.9 billion. They will be under-funded by $6-7 billion annually over the period.

The vision of the Gonski report to re-direct education policy and funding to reducing inequity in education has been extinguished. The Gonski funding model was progressively dismantled by the Abbott and Turnbull Governments and the Morrison Government has completed the demolition with the complicity of Coalition and Labor state governments.

There is now no option other than to return to the drawing board and design a new funding model to address disadvantage and improve equity in education.

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