Boost for private schools

THE Federal and State governments are implementing a new funding process which wouldmean independent schools wouldreceive up to 70 per cent of their revenue from the Government.

According to the Association of Independent Schools of WA executive director Audrey Jackson, WA independent schools have it pretty good compared with some of the other states.

“In general we think that the State Government is doing a good job in supporting independent schools,” Mrs Jackson said.

“That is not to say that we are getting everything we want but what we are getting is realistic.

“One of the big benefits we have in this state is a structure called the low interest loan scheme.

“The schools can borrow at a lower rate of interest than the market rate. It helps the schools because it is not another form of handout but it does provide assistance.

Every four years the Common-wealth government reviews its non-government school-funding program. In the 1999-2000 Federal Budget the Government announced a major overhaul of the Education Resources Index funding system which has been operating for 15 years and was viewed by educators as too complex and inequitable.

Under the new scheme the socioeconomic status of the school community is measured so schools with parents in poor areas will receive more income.

At the same time the maximum level of school funding has risen from 55 per cent of recurring expenses to 70 per cent.

Although funding for non-government schools is on the increase, it still saves taxpayer’s about $2.2 billion a year.

The average cost for the government to keep a student in a government-run school is about $6,000 a year compared with an average of $3,760 for each non-government school student.

“Part of the reason why the so-called wealthy schools have had a funding increase was because they have had no real increase in funding over the past decade,” Mrs Jackson said

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