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Reporter comments on new formula for funding non-government schools.



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JENNIFER BYRNE: The schools debate is firing up again with the government planning a new formula for funding non-government schools. What does this mean in terms of dollars?

 

FRAN KELLY: It means more money for non-government schools but most gallingly for some in the education debate it means a lot more for the top end of town schools. The opposition says that under the new funding formula the category 1 schools, that is the elite schools with high fees, will get $50 million extra, some of them almost doubling their Commonwealth subsidy. These schools make up only 5.6 per cent of the total non-government enrolments, yet the Catholic school sector—which makes up 64.9 per cent of the non-government sector—under the new scheme gets only an extra $100 million.

 

So it does look, on the face of it, like a huge funding boost to these elites. The government argues the new funding arrangement is equitable because it assesses schools on the income levels of their members whereas, in the past, it used to fund according to the income of each school. So while fees and other donations were counted in the past, these will not be counted now. But others in the education sector say that is all wrong because certain schools have the power to raise a lot more revenue than others and so this allows inequities to be more exaggerated even in terms of resources to certain schools.

 

We will talk about this a little later on in the program in greater depth, Jennifer, but it is a really fiery debate right now.

 

JENNIFER BYRNE: Absolutely a red-hot issue. Thanks, and we will talk to you then.