The urgent need for fairer funding arrangements for public schools has been highlighted by new figures which show large resource gaps between public and independent schools in the Gilmore electorate.
According to an Australian Education Union (AEU) analysis of the latest ACARA ‘My School’ data, independent schools in Gilmore receive 12.0% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools while Catholic schools in Gilmore receive 12.9% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools.
In dollar terms this means there is an income gap of $1780 per student between public schools and Catholic schools in Gilmore, and a gap of $1652 between public schools and independent schools in the electorate.
Net Recurrent Income is income received by a school that is available for expenditure relating to the ongoing operating costs of schools (e.g. teaching and non-teaching staff salaries, school operating costs)
In addition, Catholic schools in Gilmore receive only $228 less government-funded recurrent income per student than public schools ($13,165 vs. $13,393).
In terms of the amount of federal and state government recurrent funding received, some Catholic secondary schools in Gilmore receive substantially more per student than less or similarly socio-educational advantaged (ICSEA)public schools in the electorate. St Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School(ICSEA score of 1043) received $17,811 per student, more than 28 individual government primary schools in Gilmore and $6,756 more per student than the neighbouring Milton Public School(ICSEA 1013) which received $11,055 in government funds in 2017.
Among secondary schools, Carroll College(ICSEA 1018) received $15,507 per student and St John The Evangelist Catholic High School(ICSEA 1027) received $14,170 per student compared to Kiama High School(ICSEA 1035) which received $12,342 per student.
NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron said recently-released My School data shows that public schools in NSW were amongst the lowest-funded in the country.
“When independent and Catholic schools in Gilmore are receiving that much more funding than public schools you know how unfair the system has become,” Mr Mulheron said.
“Despite growing enrolments in public schools in Gilmore compared to private schools, the Morrison Government has handed billions of dollars of extra funding to private schools while cutting $14 billion from public school funding.”
“The only way to start levelling the playing field is to restore the federal funding that public schools should have received this year and last year. Thankfully, Labor has made a commitment to do exactly that if it is elected to government in the federal election, and will boost funding to public schools in Gilmore by additional $21.6 million in the first three years. This works out to over $500,000 for every school,” Mr Mulheron said.
An AEU analysis of the My School data also revealed:
· Public schools in Gilmore educate 78.1% of students but receive 75.9% of Total Net Recurrent Income
· The number of public school students in Gilmore has grown by 270 from 2014-2017, whereas enrolments at both Catholic schools and independent schools have grown more modestly, by 198 and 59 respectively.
· Despite this growth in public school enrolments in Gilmore, funding has not kept pace. Total Net Recurrent Income per student is significantly higher in Catholic schools in Gilmore($15,580 per student) and in independent schools in Gilmore($15,452 per student) than in public schools ($13,800 per student).
· This means that there is a gap of $1780 per student between public schools and Catholic schools in Gilmore and a gap of $1652 per student between public schools and independent schools in Gilmore
· In percentage terms this gap means that Catholic schools in Gilmorereceive 12.9% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools and independent Schools inGilmore receive 12.0% more income per student
· Catholic schools in Gilmore receive almost as much Commonwealth and State government funded recurrent income per student as Public schools ($13,165 vs. $13,393).
· In 2017 both Catholic and independent schools in Gilmorehad higher capital expenditure than public schools. Catholic schools spent $1437 more per student on capital projects than public schools and independent schools spent $2,063 more per student than public schools
· Over the three years from 2015-2017 capital expenditure has been significantly higher in both Catholic and independent schools inGilmorethan it has in public schools. Public schools spent $887 per student on capital works over three years, whilst Catholic schools spent $3308 (nearly four times that of public schools) and independent schools spent $6120 per student (seven times more than public schools).
Mr Mulheron said the figures showed how important it was to restore the $14 billion that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had cut from public schools.
“Without that investment the resources gaps between public and private schools inGilmore are only going to increase,” Mr Mulheron said.
“Public schools in Gilmore educate the vast majority of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and yet they are operating with thousands of dollars less per student than private schools.”
“These figures don’t even take into account the $4.6 billion Mr Morrison handed to private schools last year,” Mr Mulheron said.
“Public schools are also the fastest-growing schools in Gilmore and yet the Commonwealth has stopped providing any funding for capital works.
“Because they get so much recurrent funding, Independent schools able to spend up to five times as much on buildings and facilities as public schools,” Mr Mulheron said.
“If this is the Morrison Government’s idea of a fair go for public schools, then the Morrison Government needs to go.”