Teachers Condemn Vic Labor Govt on School Funding

AEU Joint Primary and Secondary Council resolution on government school funding, March 13, 2015.

That the AEU Joint Primary and Secondary Sector Council expresses its extreme disappointment in the State Government’s new legislation for funding non-government schools, titled Education and Training Reform Amendment (funding of Non-Government Schools).

The amended Act will provide for a new funding formula for non-government schools and the introduction of a new School Policy and Funding Advisory Council.

The AEU Joint Primary and Secondary Sector Council objects in the strongest possible terms to the new funding formula which directly links the level of funding to non-government schools to the funding of government school students. This is equivalent to the widely discredited and now obsolete Howard Government SES funding model for schools, which the Gonski review rejected, in favour of a sector blind and needs based approach.

In addition, the AEU Joint Primary and Secondary Sector Council rejects the membership of the new School Policy and Funding Advisory Council which will be charged with providing advice to the Minister for Education about regulatory, policy and funding issues that affect Government and non-government schools. The Council will include direct membership of the Independent Schools Victoria and Catholic Education Commission as representatives of the non-government sector, whilst government schools are to be represented by a departmental official. The AEU does not believe that this membership provides appropriate representation for the government sector and is gravely concerned that the voice of government school education will be minimised in important discussions regarding the funding of our schools.

That the AEU Joint Primary and Secondary Sector Council reiterates it position that the Gonski agreement signed by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments in 2013 must be implemented in full. This includes the development of a new funding process in Victoria which is sector blind and needs based, providing essential support to our most disadvantaged students. In addition, the Joint Council calls for the Minister to make an unequivocal statement that the Andrews’ government is committed to the full six years of Gonski and will contribute their portion of the additional funding in years 5 and 6, irrespective of the actions of the Abbott Federal government.

The AEU Joint Primary and Secondary Sector Council determines that the AEU will continue to campaign to achieve the full implementation of Gonski by:
• working in conjunction with the AEU Federal Gonski campaign to pressure both the State and Federal governments to commit to the Gonski agreement;
• working together with other key public education stakeholders at the state level to inform the community and members of government of the importance of delivering this funding to our schools and students;
• writing to the Minister for Education and the Premier to convey our objections and dismay at the Government’s actions and to request the repeal of the Act.

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