Special funding deals mean millions more for elite private schools

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9 July 2018


Millions of dollars have been allocated by the Turnbull government as extra funding to 102 of the most overfunded non-government schools in Australia.

Elite private schools receiving two or even three times what they should from taxpayers were set to lose funding under Gonski 2.0. However, under special deals negotiated Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham, all these schools will actually receive more money this year.

Information obtained by the AEU via a Freedom of Information request revealed that a secret $7.1 million fund was used to allocate extra money to some of the richest schools in Australia.

In 2018 Loreto Kirribilli would have seen its total recurrent funding drop from $6.7 to $6.5m. However the school actually increased its year-on-year funding by more than $200,000 due to the $381,274 in transition funding that it received from the government.

Elite private school Oakhill College, would have seen its overall funding drop from $12.4 to $12.3m. Instead, the school was given an extra $453,688, the single largest handout from the transition fund.

Monte Sant Angelo Mercy College received 268% of the SRS in 2017 and it is getting $342,254. Mount St Benedict College was funded at 212% of the SRS in 2017 and is getting almost $400,000.

Note Haileybury, one of the richest schools in Victoria, is getting $41,379 out of the special deal. But overall its funding will go up by $600,000 in 2018

Nearly 2000 private schools are now covered under special funding deals. Meanwhile, the Turnbull government has ripped nearly $1.9 billion in funding from public schools over the next two years.

This extra funding looks to continue. From 2019 the Government is providing an additional $39.8 million in financial support over 10 years through adjustment assistance for ‘disadvantaged or vulnerable’ schools facing cuts because they were overfunded. Originally this funding was for schools with a high proportion of students with disability, or a school in a disadvantaged community.

However, under revised guidelines, elite private schools are also able to access this funding. Adjustment assistance will now be allocated relative to other eligible schools taking into account the department’s assessment of each eligible school’s relative ‘disadvantage’. Some of this money has already been allocated to elite private schools in the ACT under a special deal.

Seventy per cent of private schools are now covered by secret special funding deals. However, by 2023 only 13 per cent of public schools will reach their benchmark funding level.

Other special deals for private schools includes:

•$57.7 million for ACT Catholic and Independent schools. Every Catholic and Independent school in the ACT will benefit from this special deal, despite the ACT having some of the most overfunded schools in the nation. Overfunded elite schools like Radford College, Canberra Grammar and Daramalan College will get over $1 million extra in 2018 despite already receiving in total between 140% and 200% of the Schooling Resource Standard.

•$40.3 million system weighted average deal. Every Catholic school in Australia and the 20% of Independent schools that are part of a system will benefit from the extension of system weighted average funding into 2018.