Freo school head defends cash reserves

Education Department figures show John Curtin College of the Arts (JCCA) sit in 26th on the list, hold just over $2.2 million, which equates to $1573 a student.

South Fremantle Senior High School also makes the list, holding almost $1.4 million at $2983 a student.

The figures were released ahead of a new funding agreement taking effect next year that requires schools to spend at least 96 per cent of their annual budget in the year it is received.

JCCA principal Mitchell Mackay said he believed the money should be spent on the school�s students and facilities.

�It fits in with our current practice as a large, successful independent public school,� he said.

�As an independent public school we have full flexibility to manage our finances in a strategic manner and the changes fall in line with good financial management.

�We have more than 1500 students and a very large campus, so it is good financial management practice to have a small reserve for contingencies for variances in student numbers and staffing.�

Department of Education director general Sharyn O�Neill said public school bank balances had grown from $236 million in September 2010 to $449.3 million in September this year.

�Principals have been working through an unprecedented period of reform, including the introduction of the student-centred funding model to directly link funding to student needs,� she said.

�Understandably, many principals have taken a cautious approach to financial management in recent years, but now, as we consolidate the reforms and they become the norm, for the first time I am asking principals to sign a funding agreement for 2016.

�The majority of funding that a school receives should be used during that school year on lessons, programs and resources which benefit students and boost high quality teaching and learning.�