Friday, July 16, 2010

School funding review reignites concerns

A government review of school funding led by businessman David Gonski has reignited debate over whether Labor or Liberal will provide a better deal for non-government school funding.

With the review not due to report to well after the election, new Minister for Education Simon Crean has been assuring the non-government school sector that no school would lose 'a dollar of funding' and '...there is no schools hit list for those who want to run a scare campaign.'

This has not comforted Greg O'Kelly, the chairman of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, who said it left open the possibility that funding could be frozen in real terms.

'The outcome for some hundreds of Catholic parish and regional primary and secondary schools is that their funding may be frozen in real dollar terms for several years from 2013,' he said.

The Coalition has been keen to put its nose ahead on the issue and Opposition spokesman for Education, Christopher Pyne, has promised that non-government school funding will be 'enhanced' under a Coalition government.

The review of the funding system established by John Howard was initiated by Julia Gillard while Education minister and the panel has an interesting make-up. Chair David Gonski is a former student and chairman of  of Sydney Grammar School while review panel members Ken Boston and Carmen Lawrence are on the record in saying the government school should receive priority and the current funding system is flawed.

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