Funding Catholic systems

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Funding for the Catholic education system is at risk

The federal Government contributes around 63% towards your child’s education.

Because this is such a big amount, when the federal Government talks about changing funding arrangements, it’s going to affect you and your child.

Currently in Victoria, the federal Government funds all the Catholic schools as if they were one big school, averaging out student funding across the entire Catholic education system. This method of funding schools is known as a system-weighted average, and was recommended by the Gonski Review in 2011.

This funding goes to a central Catholic education body known as the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria. A committee, which includes school principals and other local representatives, distributes this money to schools based on the actual needs of each school, as opposed to a formula decided by bureaucrats in Canberra. Many crucial programs, including support for small schools, VET and VCAL students, refugee families, language initiatives and professional learning for teachers and leaders are funded out of this central pool of funds.

Averaging out government funding for students across the system means Catholic schools can average out parent fees, particularly at a primary level, providing a saving to many families.

On 2 May, the Turnbull Government announced its plan to replace system-weighted average funding with a method that will effectively treat Catholic schools as if they were independent schools. It estimates how much each school should be able to charge parents in fees, using a measurement known as socioeconomic status (SES) scores.

You may have seen articles in the newspaper and programs on TV where Catholic education has argued that SES scores don’t reflect the actual financial circumstances of families, and that Canberra’s calculations overestimate Catholic school parents’ ‘capacity to contribute’ fees.

Catholic schools aim to be open and accessible to all families seeking a Catholic education. That means we aim to be affordable.

The biggest concern for Catholic education is that the changes proposed by the Turnbull Government will expect many Catholic primary school parents to pay more than double the fees they currently pay.

This is not an acceptable impost for any family to face. Principals will be meeting with local federal Members of Parliament in the coming weeks.

We will need your help too.

Your principal will soon be in touch with you with information on how you can make your voice heard, and how together we can work to stop the Government’s proposals and fight fee increases.