By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A modest protest against an alleged $13.6 million of Gonski-funding cuts from local schools was held outside La Trobe MP Jason Wood’s office on 8 June.
In gloomy weather, a handful of school staff showed up for the Australian Education Union protest, carrying placards counting the estimated cost to individual schools in 2018-’19 and 2019-’20.
The toll would be $11 million at Berwick College, $1 million at Kambrya College and $500,000 at Berwick Fields Primary School.
AEU vice-president Briley Duncan said Gonski’s deliverance of extra resources for local schools was under threat in the next two years.
It would mean that students needing extra support at schools will miss out, she said.
The Federal Government’s review of a needs-based funding formula was labelled as “smoke and mirrors”.
“It’s a review without looking at the quantum of funding needed. It’s a diversion tactic,” Ms Duncan said.
“We’re calling for a commitment for Gonski to be honoured.”
The AEU has been targeting marginal seats such as Mr Wood’s, as well as leading delegations of teachers and principals to lobby at Parliament House in Canberra.
Mr Wood did not respond by deadline. But in the face of a protest in March, Mr Wood said the government was trying to fix 27 different Gonski “deals” across the country which were a “corruption” of the Gonski report author’s needs-based recommendations.
“There have not been, nor will there be, any Commonwealth Government cuts,” Mr Wood said.
“Not only has our level of real funding for both government and non-government schools grown over the last decade, it has grown at a much faster rate than state funding.”
He said the AEU’s allegation in March of a $28 million cut to La Trobe schools was based on ‘cuts’ to an unfulfilled Labor election pledge in 2013.
“It was neither funded nor budgeted for beyond 2017 and which remain unfunded under Labor’s current policies,” he said at the time.