Education Ministers Must Commit to Fully Funding Public Schools

Save Our Schools calls on the Education Ministers’ meeting on Wednesday to commit to fully funding public schools by 2027. SOS National Convener, Trevor Cobbold, said that Ministers must end their silence on when public schools will be fully funded: “The inaction by governments must end”.

“Public schools are massively under-funded. At present, they are only funded at 87.1% of their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) on average across Australia and they will be under-funded indefinitely under the current arrangements. There is no plan in place to get them to 100%. As a result, public schools are missing out on about $6 billion in funding each year.

“By contrast, private schools are funded at 104.3% on average and will be over-funded for the rest of the decade.

“Ministers should commit in principle to fully funding public schools at 100% of their SRS within the life of the next Commonwealth-State bilateral funding agreements which will apply from 2024-2027.

“It is completely unacceptable that public schools, which enrol over 80% of disadvantage students, to be under-funded while private schools who serve more advantaged families are over-funded. We realise that negotiations will occur around the shares of the SRS to be contributed by the Commonwealth and the states, but there is no reason why Ministers cannot commit to fully funding public schools within the life of the next agreements.

Mr. Cobbold also called on Ministers to end defrauding public schools in the current agreements which allow state governments to claim non-school expenditures, such as capital charges and depreciation, that are specifically excluded from how the SRS is measured, as part of the share of the SRS.

“This skulduggery must end. It is defrauding public schools of over $2 billion a year.“

Mr. Cobbold said that fully funding public schools is fundamental to reducing the shocking inequality in school outcomes between rich and poor.

“The latest NAPLAN results show that Year 9 low socio-economic status (SES), Indigenous and remote area students are four or more years behind their high SES peers. Up to one-third or more of disadvantaged Year 9 students are not achieving national reading and writing standards.

“Over 80% of disadvantaged students attend public schools. Money matters for these students. They are being denied the funding necessary for them to have the same life chances as more privileged students.

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