IN THE RED: Principals forced to slash school programs

Literacy classes - gone. Numeracy classes - gone. In some cases, even maintenance is being axed.

This is the alarming state of many schools around the country whose budgets, despite promised Gonski funding, continue to slip into the red.

Adding to the woes, a recent OECD survey found that school funding in Australia “lacks transparency and coherence”, making it increasingly hard to determine how individual schools are funded.

Jennifer Buckingham, a res­earch fellow at the Centre for ­Independent Studies, said that due to complexities, measuring funding in 2015 will be a case of wait and see.  

“It does lack transparency, and it is still difficult to determine. It’s not as difficult as it was before; if you have the time and inclination you could see how the funding was ­intended to be allocated,” Buckingham said.

“But now it won’t actually be like that because funding has been frozen. So we’ll have to wait and see how that’ll play out.”

In Victoria, principals are struggling to balance their books due to a lack of adequate funding, as the Education Department there begins an investigation into the Gonski agreement.

"The department's investigations into the Gonski agreement are currently underway, and a breakdown of state and federal funding will be released shortly,” Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino said.

Further south, there is bewilderment over “miniscule” funding allocations being given to schools in SA this year. One school, Port Neill Primary, is being given just $1,242.

And it doesn’t end there.

The NT Government was this week forced to spend an extra $23m to help schools “transition to a new funding model” following growing public anger and furious teacher protests about budget cuts.

In WA, worsening school funding issues saw the Educator Minister Peter Collier rush in to plug a $1.45m gap in the education budget.

The OECD report found that various agreements bet­ween school sectors, states and the Federal Government were a major contributor to the complexity of the funding data.

How adequate are your school’s resources as the new school year begins?