Politics

The Government Is Giving Our Richest Private Schools An Extra $7.1 Million

We asked the schools if they really need the money.

The government reckons that a bunch of private schools — many of them located in Sydney’s north shore or eastern suburbs — need some more money to help them adjust to the rollout of the government’s “Gonski 2.0” school funding plan.

The poor, poor schools.

The Sydney Morning Herald this morning revealed that the government is forking out $7.1 million this year as part of the secretive National Adjustment Assistance Fund (NAAF).

The fund will give money to elite Sydney schools such as Loreto Kirribilli, St Aloysius’ College, St Ignatius’ College Riverview, Ascham, Kambala, Kincoppal, Monte Sant’ Angelo and St Aloysius’. Melbourne schools Haileybury College, Melbourne Girls’ Grammar and Melbourne Grammar will also get the handout.

Why Are They Getting The Money?

Good question.

In total, the National Adjustment Assistance Fund has $40 million, which it will distribute over the next ten years. $7.1 million of that will be spent this year. The money was put aside when Gonski 2.0 was decided upon last year.

Gonski 2.0 is a sweeping education reform that will increase school funding by $18.6 billion over the next 10 years. One of the key aims of the reform was to make school funding more equitable: low socioeconomic government schools have started to get more funding under the agreement, and richer schools will receive less taxpayer money.

Weirdly, the $7.1 million bonus will be given on top of a $50 million boost that Catholic and independent schools have already been given this year. The government also said that this money was needed to help these schools transition to the new model of funding.

The government has said that these schools need the money because they “may find it unreasonably hard to adjust to the change”.

All in all, 102 schools will be grabbing that additional funding.

Do They Need The Money?

Junkee put this question to a number of different private schools that were part of the fund, but they were all unavailable to comment.

We’ll answer for them, though. They don’t need the money.

A lot of the independent schools receiving government funding raise enough money through private means.

It makes sense: some private schools are charging as much as $37,000 per year.

Documents revealed earlier this year showed that 110 private schools in NSW are set to be handed more money than they need to function, even under the new Gonski 2.0 agreement. Over the past decade, government funding of private schools has increased by 42 percent.

And even outside of the numbers, there’s an easy way to do this.

St Ignatius’ College Riverview, one of the schools that will be given extra funding under the agreement, has: six rugby fields, four soccer fields, a boathouse for rowing, a tennis centre, and an observatory. 

Look at it:

Private schools like this one are just a tad more well-equipped than government schools, where basic conditions like clean bathrooms and air conditioning are often neglected.

This week, a bill was put to the NSW government asking for government schools to be guaranteed air conditioning. It was voted down.

Jihad Dib, the state’s shadow education minister, said that air conditioning was a must for schools that swelter through 40 degree plus summers.

“We’ve had parents who don’t send their kids to schools, because they’re worried it’s too hot,” Dib told 2GB radio.