Budget 2017: More unfunded school funding promises

Blaise Joseph

09 May 2017

cis logo 640x360The budget has confirmed most of the federal government’s promised additional spending on schools is unfunded, says Blaise Joseph, Education Policy Analyst at The Centre for Independent Studies.

“The government will spend an additional $18.6 billion over the next 10 years. Of the total $18.6 billion, just $2.2 billion is funded over the next 4 years within the forward estimates—averaging $550 million per year—leaving the other $16.4 billion for the last 6 years beyond the forward estimates—averaging $2.7 billion per year.” Mr Joseph said.

“In other words, 88% of the additional school funding promised by the government has been earmarked for beyond the forward estimates and remains unfunded.”

“The government will grow total annual school funding from $17.5 billion in 2017 to $30.6 billion in 2027, but the growth in funding is much faster for the last 6 years.”

Mr Joseph also said the government’s own announcement indicated the significant increase in school funding would not lead to any substantial changes in the percentage of the current funding benchmark, the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), received by schools.

“Despite increasing school funding by 75% across the next 10 years, in 2027 the federal government will still only fund 20% of the SRS for public schools, just a minor increase from 17% this year, and 80% of the SRS for non-government schools, again just a minor increase from 77% this year.”

Mr Joseph said this proves the SRS in an unreasonably high benchmark.

“The benchmark is too high because the majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged’ and receive extra funding. The extra funding for ‘disadvantaged’ students represents 25% of the total cost of the SRS.”

“Nevertheless, the government should be commended for having the courage to remove school funding inconsistencies and special deals, it should not have done so by committing to a further 10 years of a fundamentally flawed school funding model.”

Blaise Joseph is an Education Policy Analyst at The Centre for Independent Studies and author of  HYPERLINK “https://www.cis.org.au/app/uploads/2017/05/rr26.pdf?”The Fantasy of Gonski Funding: the ongoing battle over school spending released last week.

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