Public high schools hit hard by new student-centred funding

Opposition leader Mark McGowan with East Metropolitan Region MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson (right), school council chairman Jack Garber and PTA president Michele Drieberg outside Morley Senior High School. Picture: Marcus Whissond424108
Opposition leader Mark McGowan with East Metropolitan Region MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson (right), school council chairman Jack Garber and PTA president Michele Drieberg outside Morley Senior High School. Picture: Marcus Whissond424108

Newman College, Churchlands senior high and Balcatta senior high will each lose more than $200,000 from their 2015 budget.

With the exception of Deanmore primary $19,000 less) and Woodlands primary ($114,000 less), City primary schools will all receive an increase to their budget next year.

Under the new model, schools will be funded on student numbers with more money made available to help children with extra needs.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan criticised the State Government after cuts to 79 WA high schools were announced.

‘Parents have a right to be angry that their children are being picked on to pay for Mr Barnett’s waste and mismanagement,’ Mr McGowan said.

Mr McGowan said it was not fair some of the most vulnerable schools were being targeted.

‘Many are in low socio-economic areas. Students should be getting extra help, not less, to ensure they have an opportunity to succeed in life,’ he said. ‘It’s an insult for Education Minister Peter Collier to say these schools are ‘getting what they deserve’.’

Mr Collier said the new student funding model was fair and equitable, and reflected the central findings of a review of the WA public school funding system by Melbourne University.

The changes will be introduced over five years to allow time for schools to adjust.

‘Every school will get the same amount of funding for each student, depending (on) their year level,’ Mr Collier said. ‘In the past, incredibly complex budget formulae have led to inexplicable and often massive differences in funding for very similar schools.

‘The new budget model will ensure the funding goes where the students are, and to the students who need it most.’ Mr Collier said primary schools were predominately the winners because the State Government was attempting to tighten the significant funding gap between primary and secondary education.

‘Under the old funding model, a report by the University of Melbourne found public secondary school students in Western Australia are funded 38 per cent more generously than primary school students,’ he said.

‘This is the biggest disparity in primary and secondary funding in Australia’