Petitions protest ‘tightening of belts’

Chris Tallentire and Ashton and Tracey Nelson with petitions.
Chris Tallentire and Ashton and Tracey Nelson with petitions.

In State Parliament Mr McGowan tabled the petition signed by nearly 40,000 WA residents, including parents such as Mrs Nelson, whose son attends South Thornlie Primary School.

Opposition Education spokeswoman Sue Ellery tabled a second petition with 3116 signatures.

Gosnells MLA Chris Tallentire said there was a big response in his area to the petition, the start of a campaign he said would ‘lead to the Government backing down and restoring proper funding.’

‘Thornlie Senior High faces a $480,000 budget cut; Forest Crescent Primary loses $360,000. We have to turn this over,’ he said.

Education Minister Peter Collier said public schools were well resourced, with funding up from $2.8 billion six years ago to a forecasted $4.4 billion next year.

‘However, due to growing demands on the system, we are also asking all schools to tighten their belts. Schools will have to review what they offer and how this can be done more efficiently.’

He said the Government was maintaining teacher numbers next year, resulting in an increase of less than half a student per teacher, but reducing education assistant numbers.

‘While some programs may need to be reduced, the majority will remain and schools will continue to be committed to providing variety in programs,’ he said.

‘Principals are experts at managing budgets and ensuring good educational outcomes.’

2014 cuts include:
– $2.03 million for K-2 education assistants
– $1.74 million for Intensive English Centres
– $15 million for Central and Regional Offices
– $17.87 million for base teacher allocations
– $2.3 million for Aboriginal and Islander education officers