INDEPENDENT and Catholic schools have been kept in the dark about the details of funding cuts proposed by the state government which could leave parents to pick up the bill.
From July next year government funding to independent schools will be capped for the next four years, saving the government about $116 million.
Funding for both sectors is expected to be cut by $67 million in the first year.
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli told reporters yesterday the government had to make $1.7 billion in education savings over four years, and the impact must be shared across the education sector including TAFE fee increases and job cuts, and “adjusting” non-government school sector funding.
Kinross Wolaroi principal Brian Kennelly said the decision could amount to cuts of about $200,000 for the school.
“It’s disappointing that we learnt about it in this matter when we’ve done our budget for 2013,” he said.
“We get a substantial amount of money from the state.”
He said the reduction in funding would be equivalent to two to three teacher salaries.
“We’ll have to make cuts somewhere,” he said.
“We’d be loath to pass it directly on to parents. Parents with children at all schools are already stretched to the limit.
“I’ve reassured staff that we won’t make cuts to staffing and we won’t impose the on cost on to fees so we’ll have to look at small changes inside those parameters.”
Mr Kennelly said he hoped independent schools and the Catholic sector worked together to convince the government to change its decision.
“In a way we’re in a strong position, if people can’t afford Catholic and independent schools they’ll be flooding state schools,” he said.
“It will end up costing [the government] a lot more.”
Parish priest Paul Devitt agreed and said the Catholic sector educates about one third of the state and the cuts would amount to about $24 million for the Catholic sector, with figures for individual schools still uncertain.
“It will have a huge impact because state government funding provides most of the wages for teachers in our schools,” he said.
“It still costs us the same money to educate the child, in our systems it has to be passed on as fees.”
He said it will have a huge effect on families who are already struggling.
“It was just dumped on us on Thursday night, there was no dialogue,” he said.
“That’s how the O’Farrell government works there’s not much dialogue with anyone.”