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NSW rejects Morrison’s private school funding package Creative Commons

The New South Wales Government will reject Scott Morrison’s private school funding model. NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said the prime minister’s $4.6 billion package was “not fair.”

Morrison and Education Minister Dan Tehan announced on Thursday a multibillion-dollar package earmarked for Catholic and independent schools over the next 10 years. The deal also included a new direct measure of parents’ income to determine school funding.

“The Federal Government is providing a record $309.6 billion in recurrent funding to all Australian schools from 2018 to 2029. The Government remains committed to sector blind needs-based funding arrangements and will provide an additional $3.2 billion over 10 years to non-government schools identified as needing the most help from 2020 to 2029, with an additional $170.8 million available in 2019 to give funding certainty,” Morrison said in a statement.

“A further $1.2 billion will be provided for a new fund to address specific challenges in the non-government school sector, such as supporting schools in drought-affected areas, schools that need help to improve performance and to deliver choice in communities.”

Catholic Schools NSW (CSNSW) has welcomed the package, saying it would mean that families would continue to have the choice of an affordable non-government school.

“Faced with such massive fee hike from kindergarten to Year 6, most parents would have withdrawn their children and rolled them in the free government school nearby. This has now been averted,” chief executive officer Dallas McInerney said (via the ABC). “It would have put more pressure on government schools and increased the cost to taxpayers who must fully fund government school students and only partly fund non-government school students.”

But Stokes still did not think it’s fair. He said they would welcome any additional money into NSW schools, but it should be “distributed fairly.”

“The Gonski principles provide that school funding should be needs-based and sector-blind and these are the principles we hold dear,” he said, adding he wouldn’t sign any deal that didn’t treat students and schools with fairness. “We don’t want a return to the school funding wars of the past that pitted private schools against public schools, and urge the federal government to provide equal treatment for all schools, public and private.”

Former NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli also panned Morrison’s decision to give private schools billions of dollars in extra funding.

“This is pathetic. There is nothing fair about it. There is nothing Christian about it. It’s throwing money at the powerful and well connected,” he tweeted.