MP gives heated response

The federal government’s school funding calculator which outlines the winners and losers of the Gonski 2.0 education package has sparked a heated response from WA’s education minister.

The 2017 budget shows that Commonwealth funding for schools would increase 75 per cent over the next decade after the Turnbull Government embraced businessman David Gonski’s needs-based funding model.

However, WA Minister for Education Sue Ellery said the calculator is misleading, claiming there is no way the Government could accurately understand the needs of WA schools.

“The figures released in the school funding calculator by the federal government are disingenuous and inaccurate,” Ms Ellery said.

“In WA the funds are put into our student-centered funding model and allocated to schools dependent on the students characteristics at that school.”

The calculator was released earlier this month,it breaks down the funding amounts over the next ten years as well as the amount of funding allocated per student. While it shows all schools in the Busselton and Dunsborough are set to receive an increase in funding, the amounts vary.

For example Busselton Senior High School is set to receive a $126,000 increase by 2018 and St Mary Mackillop College is set to receive a $459,000 increase by 2018.

“The funding is allocated for social disadvantage, locality, disability, Aboriginal and English as an additional language and this is based on a ‘snap shot’ of all students done by a twice yearly census,” Ms Ellery said.

“That’s done each year and there is no way the Commonwealth could know what those characteristics are.”

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino denies these claims, stating that under Labor’s funding model a disadvantaged WA student would receive up to $1,500 less funding than if that exact same student was in another state.

“The Turnbull government’s policy will fix that, our model is true needs-based Gonski funding that will ensure every student receives the support they need to succeed,” she said.

“The government is delivering the real, needs-based, that David Gonski and his panel of experts envisaged.

WA schools stand to receive an additional $1.7 billion over the next decade.

“Our plan is about giving all Australian schools a fair go and wiping away the 27 special deals Labor signed up that trashed the recommendations of David Gonski and his panel of experts.

“We’ve used the best data sets available in Australia to develop our funding plan unlike some of our critics who seem to be doing their calculations on the back of an envelope.”

Source: Busselton-Dunsborough Times.