The urgent need for fairer funding arrangements for public schools has been highlighted by new figures which show large resource gaps between public and private schools in the Page electorate.
According to an Australian Education Union (AEU) analysis of the latest ACARA ‘My School’ data, Catholic schools in Page receive 5.9% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools while independent schools in Page receive 5.2% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools.
In dollar terms this means there is an income gap of $914 per student between public schools and Catholic schools in Page, and a gap of $805 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)
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 Page 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 Page 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 Page by additional $24 million in the first three years. This works out to nearly $250,000 for every school,” Mr Mulheron said.
An AEU analysis of the My School data also revealed:
· Public schools in Page educate 65.3% of students but receive 64.3% of Total Net Recurrent Income
· The number of public school students inPage has grown by 177 from 2014-2017, whereas enrolments at both Catholic schools and independent schools have both declined, falling by 499 and 506 respectively.
· Despite this growth in public school enrolments in Page, funding has not kept pace. Total Net Recurrent Income per student in Page is significantly higher in Catholic schools ($16,420 per student) and in independent schools ($16,311 per student) than in public schools ($15,505 per student).
· This means that there is a gap in Total Net Recurrent Income of $914 per student between public schools and Catholic schools in Pageand a gap of $$805 per student between public schools and independent schools in the electorate
· In percentage terms this gap means that Catholic schools in Page receive 5.9% more Net Recurrent Income per student than public schools and independent Schools in Pagereceive 5.2% more income per student
· In 2017 independent schools in Page had higher capital expenditure than public schools. Independent schools spent $1112 per student, twice the $504 per student spent by public schools.
· Over the three years from 2015-2017 capital expenditure has been significantly higher in independent schools than it has in public schools. Public schools in Pagespent $1,501 per student on capital works over three years, whilst independent schools in Pagespent $4,337 per student (nearly three 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 inPage are only going to increase,” Mr Mulheron said.
“Public schools in Page 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 Page 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.”