School Principal joins the schools’ funding debate

Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School Principal, Mr Frank Cohen, has criticised the government’s approach towards Gonski funding in regard to Catholic schools, in the school’s June 7 newsletter.
“You may have taken some interest in the news of late that our Catholic School sector is under threat with funding, moving forward into the next five years,” Mr Cohen wrote.
“You would have all heard of David Gonski and his proposed funding model.
“In its purest form, if previous Labor and Coalition Governments did not meddle in his proposal, then I am certain every school in Australia, regardless of flavour, would be appropriately funded by now, but alas, in Australia, if short termism and self-interest was a two horse race, there would be a dead heat.
“What is being proposed in Parliament is a bill that in the spirit of Gonski allows for needs based funding, i.e. those areas where there is the most need get the most money, so that equity is achieved,” Mr Cohen continued.
“On the surface one would argue fantastic, however, the model being used to achieve equity is basically flawed, and it seems the Minister for Education, Mr Simon Birmingham, and Prime Minister Turnbull, are refusing to listen to why this bill will almost destroy some of our Catholic Schools.
“The SES model being used to achieve equity is based on the address of the enrolled child in the school.
“Some of our wealthiest, over resourced schools like Geelong Grammar in Melbourne and Kings at Parramatta, take in children from areas where the SES is very low.
“Wealthy farmers send their kids to these schools but live in places like Bourke and Brewarrina.
“Therefore, the SES score of such wealthy schools is low, which, based on the current bill, would mean they would get even more money.
“Tim Hawkes is an outspoken Principal of Kings who makes comment on just about anything, but he has been very quiet about the bill being debated.
“I wonder why?
“Our school is not in any danger of losing funding and we are very grateful for what we receive.
“Our North Shore schools are not so lucky.
“If the bill passes in its current form, the very real possibility of school closures in this area is a reality.
“As we are a Broken Bay School, we need to support our southern end, schools because we will incur a hit to our special needs programs if any of these schools should falter,” Mr Cohen wrote.

Newsletter, Jun 7
Frank Cohen, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School, Wyoming

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