Funding for private schools growing much faster than public schools, analysis shows
FUNDING for South Australian private schools has grown much faster than for public schools, according to an analysis set to refuel debate over election pledges for education.
Using data from the national MySchool website from 2009-14, the Australian Education Union found recurrent government funding per student in public schools rose by $2237, or 20.3 per cent, to $13,240 a year.
Over the same period, an almost identical dollar amount rise to Catholic school students ($2240) was proportionally much larger, leaping 29.8 per cent to $9747.
The $1990 rise for independent school students was proportionally bigger still at 31.8 per cent, up to $8258.
The figures combine federal and state money. Nationally, the funding growth for private schools was more than 30 per cent, more than double the rise for public schools.
SA’s public and independent schools are slightly better funded than the national averages, while Catholic schools are slightly underfunded.
The union said the figures showed it was vital the Federal Government reversed plans to abandon the needs-based funding scheme known as Gonski after next year.
“Disadvantaged schools don’t need cuts to Gonski. They need the $4.5 billion in investment Labor and the Greens are promising, which will see all schools with the resources they need to educate their students,” federal president Correna Haythorpe said.
The Government has argued that Gonski, a former Labor scheme, was never fully funded and it has instead promised a $1.2 billion increase from 2018-20.
It has also argued that raising teacher quality is more important than throwing more money at schools, given Australia’s performance against other nations has slipped while funding has risen.
Once fees and other income are added, SA public schools had $13,877 recurrent income per student in 2014 and Catholics $13,718, both above national figures of less than $13,000.
SA independent schools had much higher income than other sectors at $15,691 per student, but this was well below the national average of $17,604.
The union said private schools had more resources despite teaching far smaller proportions of disadvantaged students.
Nationally, 30 per cent of public school students were from low socio-economic backgrounds, compared with 14 per cent in Catholic schools and 9 per cent in independent schools.