Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome news on Catholic School funding

As a parent about to embark upon the costly business of sending my children to a Catholic secondary college, this news is most welcome: Bi-partisan support for Catholic school funding:
Catholic education in Victoria received an early Christmas present on 9 November when the Labor Government announced that funding for Catholic schools would be increased to 25% of the cost of education in a government school if it wins the state election...

The Coalition pledged in 2008 to increase funding to Catholic schools to 25% of the cost of education in a government school if it is elected to government on 27 November.

The almost $200 million funding boost, also includes an additional $5m for teacher professional development

In welcoming the decision, Mr Elder said Labor’s commitment would particularly benefit Catholic families in disadvantaged areas.

...[CEO chief executive officer Mr Stephen Elder said:] “Catholic schools continue to serve families in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the state. I have no doubt the decision will be widely welcomed by Catholic school communities.”

...“The personal story of Australia’s first saint – St Mary of the Cross – is a powerful illustration of Catholic education’s mission to serve the most disadvantaged in our community. The announcement will provide funding to Catholic education to continue this legacy,” said Mr Elder.

School fees have been rising steadily, mostly due to a lack of Government funding. My own daughter's fees for next year have risen about %10 from what we were told when we first enrolled her last year. Sending both my daughters to Catholic secondary college will cost me about 20% of my annual income.

If you do the sums you realise that parents who send their children to Catholic Schools are in fact (even under this new funding) saving the government 75% of what it would cost to educate their children in State Schools. I think we need some recognition of that.

All that being said, we are a long way from the days of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. One reason why Catholic schools are costly for parents today (although no where near the cost of other independant schools) is that we no longer have the "cheap labour" force that once supplied teachers for our systems, ie. religious sisters and brothers. What a boost it would be for the Catholic School system if St Mary's vision were to become truly alive again today!

3 Comments:

At Friday, November 12, 2010 10:54:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

Good news indeeed. I take it Schutz that you could be looking towards catholic secondary colleges in either Box hill,Ringwood or Belgrave. My experience as aTAFE teacher and having had students from all three of these schools ,was always positive.
Watch the AEU and the usual biggots winge.

 
At Saturday, November 13, 2010 4:55:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

you are right, David. If Catholics are properly living out the Church's teaching, then many couples (not all, of course) would have four children or more. It would only be possible for most of these families to give their children a Catholic education by homeschooling them, or sending them to a school staffed by religious sisters or brothers. Religious sisters and brothers live in a community, keeping their individual costs down, and do not require a "living wage," since they have no family members to support. The religious community supports itself and relies for the rest on charity. It is a great scandal, imo, that Catholic education (if that is what were given in Catholic schools) cannot be had for the children of low income families.

 
At Saturday, November 13, 2010 5:07:00 am , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

“If you do the sums you realise that parents who send their children to Catholic Schools are in fact (even under this new funding) saving the government 75% of what it would cost to educate their children in State Schools. I think we need some recognition of that.”

Not quite.

25% is the figure which it is proposed that the State should pay. However the Catholic schools receive the bulk of their funding from the Federal government. Currently for the Catholic school sector this is set at about 56% of state government expenditure on public schools (though that may – I don’t know – vary from school to school according to financial need).

On average, so, if the 25% figure is implemented, then Catholic schools will receive (25% + 56% =) 81% of the public funding that government schools get.

It may be true that the result of my sending my child to a Catholic school is that the State government is relieved of 75% of what it would otherwise have to pay. The great bulk of this, though, is covered by the Federal government (and so ultimately by taxpayers at large), rather than by the fees that I pay. It may be my choice that triggers this shift in costs from State to Federal, but it’s mostly other people’s money that replaces the state funding.

 

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