Govt blasted over education cuts
NSW State Government cuts to private and public school funding have raised the ire of principals, parents, and the Labor opposition.
A funding cut of $1.7 billion for NSW public and private schools was announced by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell earlier this week and includes a funding freeze for independent schools which will save $116 million over four years.
Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School principal Chris Duncan was so concerned he sent out a letter to the parents of his students and asked them to join him and send emails to the Premier and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli to ensure Lindisfarne's government funding remained unaffected.
Mr Duncan said his school's funding used to be indexed by 6% or 7% annually, which covered a yearly increase of costs of about 6%.
The announced changes meant the school would struggle to meet its costs.
Mr Duncan said the school's administration had little or no "fat" to work with and the only significant cuts possible were reductions in teacher salaries.
The alternative to salary cuts was increases in fees, but Mr Duncan voiced concerns about introducing higher fees.
"We want to maintain our fee structure and keep school fees as affordable as possible," he said.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the announced changes were painful but necessary.
"NSW faces a reduction of GST revenue of around $5.2 billion over the next four years," Mr Provest said.
"We're looking to set up the state financially for the future and if we don't do it now the state will be virtually bankrupt."
Mr Provest said the Government wanted to avoid job cuts as happened in Queensland.
He said the Government was looking to safeguard the state's AAA credit rating and ensure NSW's interest repayments were not negatively affected.
CUTS IN BRIEF
$5.2 billion shortfall of GST revenue over next four years.
Overall cut of the NSW education budget of $1.7 billion.
800 TAFE jobs to go.
600 jobs at public schools to go.
Funding freeze of independent schools to save $116 million over four years.