Gonski shock: Eight of our schools to have budgets slashed

AT LEAST eight Northern Rivers schools that will lose more than $115,000 are among 200 schools statewide that will be worse off under a new "Gonski inspired" education funding model.

This is despite a $100 million boost to education funding under the new resource allocation model, which sees schools in the Lismore electorate receive an extra $1.4 million, Ballina $755,000 and Clarence $2.4 million.

The Gonski review found many schools did not have the resources needed to give every child a high quality education.

Based on the review, the new funding model was devised to help disadvantaged students.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said most schools would be better off under the "needs based" funding model based on "equity loadings" for socio-economic and indigenous disadvantage.

"For the first time ever, every Aboriginal student in NSW attracts funding, and we are tripling the number of disadvantaged students who also receive funding," he said.

Mr Piccoli said with principals given more say in how the money was spent, students would have a greater opportunity to succeed.

"The new funding model will put principals' and school communities' close knowledge of their students' needs at the heart of school decision-making."

The "equity" funding designed to help students with special needs is in addition to "base" funding schools receive to cover staff wages and operational costs.

The equity funding can be spent on resources including laptops and text books, or allied health services for the school including speech pathology.

Bonalbo Central School P&C president Hellan Whitney was shocked to hear the remote school would lose more than $25,000 annually.

Mrs Whitney said the school might have to scrap speech pathology services due to the cut.

"We do have a lot of Aboriginal children at Bonalbo and because of our socio-economic position I really can't understand why we are getting less money," she said.

All up, the local schools to lose funding under the model include:

  • Ballina Public School - $36,417
  • Bonalbo Central School - $25,121
  • Coraki Public School - $9118
  • Drake Public School - $4930
  • Murwillumbah Public School - $22,000
  • Stratheden Public School - $4312
  • Tabulam Public School - $9521
  • Wardell Public School - $3848

Winners included:

  • Lismore High, which gets an extra $165,562,
  • Casino High - up $439,922,
  • Evans River Community School - up $172,911 and
  • Ballina High - up $274,471.

Mr Piccoli also announced yesterday an increase in preschool funding by 20% to $150 million, to subsidise four and five-year-olds in their last year before school.

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