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The Kemp agenda on schools exposed



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Lyn Allison Australian Dem ocrats Senator for Victoria

MEDIA RELEASE

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The Kemp agenda on schools exposed

The Democrats today accused the Minister for Schools, Dr David Kemp of hiding the real effects of the Federal Government’s education budget.

Senator Lyn Allison, Democrats spokesperson for Schools said “There is no real increase in funds for schools over the next four years and the public school system will have to wear the cost of a huge and uncontrolled expansion of the private school sector.”

Kemp Myth No. 1: We have increased spending on schools by $2.3 billion

Over 90% of the $2.3 billion increase in the Government’s forward estimates for per capita grants is just inflation - ‘supplementation’, ‘indexation’ and new enrolments.

Kemp Myth No. 2: When a state school student leaves the public system, the Commonwealth and the States share the saving

The Enrolment Benchmark Adjustment (EBA) does not simply deduct funds from the State Education Budget for every student who transfers to a private school. Even if the state system kept exactly the same number of students by the year 2000 it would still lose over $200 million in Commonwealth funding.

On the Government’s own projections private school enrolments will increase by more than 94,000, state school enrolments will drop by 23,000 and $305 million will be removed from the state budget at a rate of $1,712.50 for each new private school student. This means a deduction of around $140 over four years would be made from the Commonwealth grant ($406/annum) for every child remaining in the state system.

Kemp Myth No. 3: The States will not decrease their spending on education

The Federal Government has assumed that States will ignore the $1.5 billion cut to their funding agreed by COAG earlier this year, when it comes to allocating funds to schools. So far, none of the states have made this undertaking and there is no reason to believe states will be able to even maintain last year’s spending on schools.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

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Kemp Myth No. 4: We said we would do this before the election

It is true that the Coalition said it would remove any restrictions on funding for private schools. What it did not say was that this would be at the expense of children in state schools. .

Kemp Myth No. 5: Parents who send their children to private schools save the government money

This is partially true, but for some schools, 80% of their costs are met by government grants. In 1996 the Commonwealth provided average direct grants of $614 for each student in state schools and $2,075 for each student in private schools.

Private school funding increases over the next four years, including inflation, amount to 27% whereas funds to state schools will increase by only 7%, in real terms a major decrease!

Kemp Myth No. 6: The States will control expansion of private schools

State governments have few requirements for registration of private schools, they are different from state to state and only Victoria has any minimum enrolment number.

Kemp Myth No. 7: We have consulted

All state government submissions complained that they were not consulted as did most other witnesses to the Senate inquiry. A change of this order should be accompanied by at least 12 months planning and public debate in order to reach agreement with the states and to study

the impact of the decision.

Kemp Myth No. 8: We are pouring millions into literacy programs

Tire additional $45 million on literacy means roughly $5.00 per student per year, which is hardly a major commitment.

For further information, contact Matthew Townsend on (03) 9416 1880 or Lyn Allison direct on (019) 178 833 or (03) 9483 7892.

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