Do you give a Gonski?: Teachers fighting for lost funding

TEACHERS are calling on the community to fight for the federal government to reinstate the last two years of school funding proposed by the Gonski reforms, which would have delivered the largest chunk of money for schools, according to Molong Teachers Association secretary Russell Culverson.

One of four vans on a five-week “Gonski road trip”, organised by the Teachers Federation, came to Molong yesterday to drum up support for the I Give a Gonski campaign.

Mr Culverson said about two-thirds of the funds allocated through Gonski would have come in the last two years of the six-year reform.

He said the Gonski reforms were designed to give children who needed learning support, or came from disadvantaged backgrounds, extra funds.

“I think all public schools would benefit, but Molong ticks a few boxes being regional, having some students with extra educational needs and having a small percentage of students with an Indigenous background,” Mr Culverson said.

Earlier this week, Molong Central School principal Janis Glasson said the decision to decrease the Gonski funds from six to four years would impact the school’s learning support programs.

A PRINCIPAL'S PAIN: FEDERAL CUTS TO GONSKI PAYMENTS WILL HURT US

But a spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said specific decisions about school program priorities were a matter for each state and territory as owners of public schools, not the federal government.

“The previous government made up funding figures beyond the four-year forward estimates,” the spokesman said.

“In addition to this, Bill Shorten ripped $1.2 billion from schools over the next four years and the Coalition government has put it back.”

Mr Culverson said previous campaigns had forced Mr Pyne to backflip on his earlier decision to walk away from the entire Gonski reforms, making initiatives such as the road trip worthwhile.

“When he said they weren’t going to keep their election promise there was a big public outcry,” he said.

“The Gonksi model of funding was a major overhaul of the old system. It was a lot fairer, there was base funding for all students and it provided extra [funds] where needed.”

Organisers urged parents and the wider community to sign up to the I Give A Gonski website.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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