Scepticism over funding model

Public schools received preliminary 2015 budgets last week and Mr Collier said extra funding would be provided for disabled, disadvantaged and indigenous students, and those learning English as a second language.

‘Every school will get the same amount of funding for each student depending on the year level of the student,’ he said.

‘For each Year 2 student, for example, each school will receive the same amount of $7572 in 2015.

‘Every school will receive between $310 and $1085 for each eligible student from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.’

However, local parent groups are unsure the model will be fairer and fear they will be called on to provide funding for basic resources.

Lisa O’Malley, from Save Our Schools (SOS), is concerned the single-line budgets could have a negative impact on older schools that may need more maintenance than more modern schools.

‘You’re not starting with an even playing field,’ she said.

‘I believe there will be a minor works budget and a major works budget. The department can allocate to schools for maintenance, but we don’t know yet how that will work.’

Fremantle Primary School P&C’s Felicity Clarke said schools such as hers, with 209 enrolled students, were already vulnerable.

‘I have grave concerns that a funding system which leads to cuts in school services will exacerbate this vulnerability,’ she said.

‘It’s clear that the role the P&C plays in fundraising will become increasingly important as school budgets are slashed.’

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said schools were going into the new model with ‘one hand tied behind their backs’.

‘The biggest concern is this model will be implemented on top of severe cuts we’ve already seen in the past 18 months,’ she said.