Smaller class sizes.
More specialist teachers in areas such as literacy and numeracy.
More help for students with disabilities or behavioural problems.
And those in danger of dropping out.
During the 2013 federal election the Liberal Party promised to match Labor's school funding promise "dollar for dollar". Instead, the Federal Government in 2017 unilaterally ended five signed state and territory agreements on school funding, refusing to deliver the final two years of funding (2018 and 2019). Parliamentary Budget Office costings show that in 2018 and 2019 the cut to public schools was $1.87 billion. The change meant that public schools would get $14 billion less over the next decade than had been promised.
The Federal Government legislated to cap Commonwealth funding to public schools at 20% of what they need to reach the minimum schooling resource standard while funding private schools to 80% of schooling resource standard. Some of the biggest increases in funding go to the schools that need it least. In addition, the Federal Government legislated a $4.7 billion special funding deal for private schools and also put in place a $1.9 billion capital grants fund while giving zero capital funding to public schools.
These changes hit hardest the kids who need our help the most. When you withhold public school funding you withhold funding for students with disability, you withhold funding for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, you withhold funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, you withhold funding for students at risk of falling behind.
Every child has a right to a quality education and the opportunity to learn and fair funding for public schools is the best way to help them get it. We are calling on all political parties to support the following:
Agreements should be struck between the Commonwealth and the states and territories to ensure every public school is funded to 100% of the schooling resource standard (SRS) by 2023.
Remove the 20% cap on the Commonwealth share of the SRS from the Australian Education Amendment Act.
Establish a capital fund for public schools ($300m in 2018 and increase each year in line with enrolment growth and rising costs) to ensure all students are educated in classrooms and learning spaces where their needs can be met.
Reverse the cuts to disability funding in five states and territories