In a pre-budget letter to the Government, the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) cautioned that its funding would plunge by 30% despite costs rising by 54.7% by 2025.
“Without sustainable funding, fees will increase, schools could close and the quality of education will be compromised,” the letter read.
“This will impose additional pressure on government schools when students transfer out of Catholic schools to government schools because they are unable to afford higher fees.”
The warning comes ahead of next month’s federal budget, which will reveal the Government’s funding commitment for the next four years.
In the 2014 budget, the Coalition moved to what it said would be a more “realistic” school funding model, cutting off the last two years of Gonski funding.
“This issue of funding is not just an issue for the Catholics — this affects all schools,” NCEC executive director, Ross Fox, told The Australian.
“In the budget papers last year, there were only six months in the forward estimates that gave a glimpse of life without the Gonski money.
“Now we will have a year-and-a-half and the danger is that the trajectory of the assumptions will get further away from what we need. The situation will become more acute and more important to us.”
A spokesman for Federal Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, denied there had been a funding cut in last year’s budget and that negotiations were continuing on a way forward.
“As in the past, the commonwealth has a four-year school funding cycle over the forward estimates,” the spokesman said.
“Beyond the forward estimates, as stated in budget papers, the final state and territory allocations for 2018 onwards will be subject to negotiations between the commonwealth, the states and non-government sectors. The government intends to set funding on a sustainable setting.”