Wealthy Private Schools Walk Away from Pyne’s Train Wreck With Millions in Over-funding

Calculations by Greens NSW MP John Kaye show that the Abbott government’s termination of the Gonski process after just four years will deliver a $169 million a year windfall to 163 private schools, while the average NSW public education system will lose funding that could employ four new teachers in the average public school.

The same decision will leave the state and federal funding of the state’s wealthiest private schools well above the level set by the Gonski review.

Some of the elite winners from Mr Pyne’s decision, such as Loreto Kirribilli, Brigidine St Ives, and St Aloysius’ College in Milsons Point will be paid more than $5 million a year over the Gonski amount, in large measure because a funding guarantee given to them by John Howard in the year 2000.

Kaye said: “Terminating the Gonski process after just four years will leave government funding of the wealthiest private schools intact while destroying the opportunity for public schools to catch up.

“Private schools like Loreto Kirribilli and St Aloysius’ College in Milsons Point will continue to receive millions of dollars a year largely unaffected by the Gonski principles. Public schools will be denied a big boost to their annual budgets.

“Indexation of wealthy private school subsidies and the growth in the underlying Gonski resource standard were supposed to eventually transition all schools to the same funding principles.

“By cutting off the funding agreement after just four years, the Abbott government has not only robbed NSW public schools of the chance to increase teacher numbers and reduce class sizes, but it has left the scandalous funding of the wealthiest private schools largely as it was.

“The state’s 163 wealthiest private schools will continue to be paid $169 million a year more than the Gonski amount.

“More than $68 million a year of that overpayment goes back to John Howard’s funding maintenance deal with the powerful private school lobby.

“Schools like Loreto Kirribilli will continue to receive funding based on their pre-2000 levels, maintained by three Federal separate governments.

“Loreto will receive $9.1 million in state and federal funding, which is $6.4 million over its Gonski amount. It would receive $4.3 million less if it had not been Funding maintained in 2000.”

Kaye estimated that it would take 202 years for Loreto Kirribilli to have its funding adjusted to its Schooling Resource Standard.

“Thanks to Christopher Pyne’s back flip, NSW’s wealthiest private schools will continue receive an average of more than $1 million a year over their Gonski amounts. Averaged across the state’s public education system, each school will miss out on a $387,000 boost that could increase staff numbers by four additional teachers.

“If the last two years of the National Agreement were honoured by the Abbott government, NSW public schools would enter 2020 with an additional $851 million in their annual budgets.

“The Gonski formula and the National Education Reform Agreement were far from perfect but at least they tried to even out some of the worst injustices in the funding system.

“The Abbott is ending the reform process before public schools receive the major part of their funding growth and before indexation has a chance to equalize the public private gap.

“The NSW government should start cutting into its $1 billion funding of non-government schools to make the system much fairer,” Dr Kaye said

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