Garrett denies Victorian schools would lose funding

The federal government has denied almost 500 Victorian schools would be worse off under funding reforms, insisting every school would receive its existing funding plus 3 per cent indexation a year as a “bare minimum”.
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Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon told Parliament the Commonwealth’s latest modelling revealed that 249 state schools, 186 Catholic schools and 46 independent schools would be worse off if Victoria signed up to the deal.

Some of the state’s most disadvantaged schools were among those he named as losers, including Northern Bay College in Corio, which Mr Dixon said would be $6.2 million worse off over six years, and Sunshine College, which would lose $1.4 million.

The Victorian government later released a list of 60 state schools it said would be more than $100,000 a year worse off by 2019 than if the current funding arrangements were extended.

But federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett said these were ”fantasy figures” and no school would be worse off.

He said the Commonwealth offer of $4.2 billion in combined state and federal funding would be enough for every school to get at least its current share of funding, plus 3 per cent indexation, as a bare minimum.

”The vast majority of Victorian schools would get even more.”

The stoush comes as Prime Minister Julia Gillard made an increased offer to Western Australia in a bid to entice Premier Colin Barnett to sign up to the funding reforms by the June 30 deadline.

The new offer would see an increase to West Australian schools of $920 million in combined state and federal funding, plus indexation, over the next six years.

The federal government said it had increased the offer from $300 million after factoring in the higher cost of providing education in Western Australia, including higher teacher salaries.

Mr Dixon said Victoria intended to negotiate right up to June 30, especially in light of the increased offer to Western Australia.

”If the Commonwealth is finding buckets of money hidden away we would certainly welcome our share of sweeteners,” he said.

But a spokeswoman for Mr Garrett said the offer to Victoria of $4.2 billion in combined state and federal funding over the next six years would remain unchanged.

”The original offer  to WA factored in extra costs of 8 per cent compared to other states. This has now been calculated to be 11 per cent,” she said.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

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