Regional schools decry government's funding model

Regional schools decry government

More than $180m a year will be stripped from 164 regional private schools when the new Commonwealth funding model is fully implemented, according to the Coalition of Regional Independent Schools Australia (CRISA).

The coalition, which represents more than 40 regional and outer-metropolitan independent schools across Australia, says the new Direct Measure of Income model – due to be fully implemented by 2029 – will “hit schools squarely where it already hurts – in regional Australia”.

CRISA Chairman, Stephen Higgs, said this impact will be felt in areas where communities are trying to recover from the devastation of drought, fire, flood and loss of tourism dollars due to COVID-19’s impact on travel.

“This goes against what we need in regional Australia – we need more parental choice and greater investment in all schools, not a model that reduces educational options for young people in the country,” Higgs said.

“These cuts disproportionately and unfairly impact regional Independent schools, with these schools losing funding at an average rate of $760 per student. By contrast this loss is $287 per student across metropolitan independent schools. How can that possibly be fair?”

Higgs said CRISA has heard from many Coalition Members of Parliament who are “stunned” that an outcome of the Federal Government’s non-government school funding policy “means money being stripped from schools in country Australia”,

“They rightly ask why the Federal Government would undermine its own stated commitment to both parental choice in school education and growth in regional Australia. We agree, and ask Federal MPs across regional Australia – and all who support school choice for regional families - to advocate change to this unfair policy,” he said.

“CRISA and its members will not stop our campaign until this issue is addressed – all the way to the Federal election and beyond if needed.”

Higgs said the funding cuts “diminish the affordability of independent education for regional families, many of whom sacrifice a great deal to contribute to the cost of their children’s education.”

“Our principals right across the nation have enough on their hands already without having to deal with unfair funding cuts,” he said.

“They are determined to guard for young regional Australians the educational outcomes threatened by this funding model. We need urgent Ministerial intervention to stand up for regional Australia.”