Private schools overfunded by $850m – report

Private schools overfunded by $850m – report

A new report claims the NSW Government is overfunding private schools in NSW by almost $850m, while choosing to under-fund public schools by $2bn every year.

The NSW Government Public Funding of Private Schools in NSW report, authored by renowned senior economist Adam Rorris, also claims the Government splashed more than $30m in extra funding on 40 elite private schools, which were identified as some of the most expensive and well-resourced schools in the country.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the report showed “the profound inequity” of the NSW Government’s school funding arrangements.

“The NSW Government is overfunding private schools by $850 million over five years, while underfunding public schools every single year,” he said.

Gavrielatos referred to figures showing that in 2021, two thirds of Independent schools were overfunded by almost $100m.

“Some of the richest schools in the nation are getting between $1 million and $2.5 million more per year than their government-funding entitlement. Overfunding these schools just means bigger surpluses and bigger swimming pools,” he said.

“How is it that Premier Dominic Perrottet can afford to give hundreds of millions a year to private schools that don’t need it, but he can’t find the money to properly fund public schools? Right now, Mr Perrottet’s plan is to keep overfunding private schools to 2029 while indefinitely under-funding public schools, which educate two thirds of students in this State.”

Responding to the claims, the NSW Government pointed out that it was the first jurisdiction to sign up to needs-based, sector-blind funding and remains committed to the existing funding model.

“As detailed in the current school funding agreement signed in 2018, the NSW Government is transitioning funding to non-government schools in NSW at 20 per cent of their Schooling Resource Standard by 2029,” a spokesperson for NSW Education told The Educator.

“The Commonwealth Government provides the majority of funding for non-government schools, while the NSW Government is the majority funder for government schools. In 2021, the NSW Government contribution to non-government schools was 22.74 per cent, down from 25.29 per cent in 2018.”

‘A political agenda’

The Association of Independent Schools NSW (AISNSW) chief executive Dr Geoff Newcombe said, the Teachers Federation “once again is using inaccurate information to pursue its political agenda.”

“The funding model agreed with the government contained a transition component,” Dr Newcombe told The Educator.

“The net effect of this new model on Independent Schools in NSW, up to 2029, will be a considerable loss of funding of an estimated $200m, a significantly different impact from the Teachers Federation’s inaccurate claims.”