Parents Voice in Government School Education

School levies: PV media comment

The Age reported today (21 June) that, “a decline in voluntary payments from parents this year could force schools to cut curricular programs.” According to the article, “Caulfield secondary school Glen Eira College wrote to parents on Friday warning that it had already spent its annual budget in voluntary payments from families and was reviewing whether it will have to cut some programs next year.”

Our view

This issue was picked up by Sammy J on 774 ABC radio’s Breakfast program, and Sammy interviewed PV’s Executive Officer Gail McHardy. Gail made the point that PV has been making for many years – schools should not be placed in the position of relying on voluntary contributions to run essential programs. “If governments funded schools as they should… schools wouldn’t need to put that pressure on parents,” she said.

Gail also had the opportunity to discuss the issue with Tom Elliott on 3AW Drive the same afternoon. She made the point that expensive extras such as camps and excursions can emphasise the income inequalities in a school community; “everyone now knows who are the families who can’t afford the extra expense,” she said. Tom also asked about Sorry Day and Welcome to Country events, giving Gail the opportunity to reiterate Parents Victoria’s support for recognising and educating students about Aboriginal culture. PV is a proud ally of the Know Your Country campaign.

And if you’re wondering where all the education funding is going, this article published in the Guardian earler this year has some answers – government funding for private schools in Australia has increased at nearly five times the rate of public school funding over the past 10 years.

Letter to the Age

The article in the Age prompted this response in the Letters section the next day:

Funding shortfall
As a former business manager of a primary school, I certainly agree with Parents Executive officer Gail McHardy’s opinion (“School programs face chop as voluntary payments drop”, The Age, 21/6) in that until the schooling resource standard is fixed by reducing the over funding of non-government schools and increasing the funding to government schools things will not change. The present funding agreement is unjustifiable.
Jeanne Hart, Maryborough

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