At least 10 Perth State high schools each raised more than $1 million from donations, fundraising drives, fees and contributions from parents to supplement government funding, the revamped My School website has revealed.
The figures show parents of State school students are paying thousands of dollars from their own pocket or fundraising to pay for school basics such as class- room materials, computers and excursions.
The website, which went online yesterday, includes information on how much money each school gets from taxpayers, parents, donations and fundraising, income from canteens and building hire, and from investments and bank interest.
WA State School Council of State Schools Organisations president Rob Fry said the big amount of money raised by some public schools showed why a more equitable funding approach was needed.
"I would like the government to stop funding rich private and public schools," he said. "If they have got it, why should they get more when others are struggling?"
In WA, public schools spend $13,585 per student, Catholic schools $10,722 and independent schools $12,756 in day-to-day running costs.
The figures, which are based on 2009 financial records, show many private schools use surplus income raised by fees to pay for capital works such as new classrooms and sporting facilities, resulting in superior resources than State and Catholic schools.
Special needs schools receive the highest amount of per student funding. The WA Institute for Deaf Education at Cottesloe gets $152,000 per student. The lowest per student amount is $4200 at Albany's Australian Christian College, which teaches about 70 kids but has a bigger distance education program.
Some public schools enjoy a healthy income stream from parents, which can add up to 10 per cent of their budget.
One of the State's biggest schools, Willetton Senior High, received almost $1.7 million in 2009 in parental fees, contributions and fundraising.
Principal Chris Booth said the school had a dedicated parent body keen to see their children enjoy extracurricular activities. Part of the funding included $200,000 for an overseas space camp.
Mr Booth said it was misleading to suggest the school enjoyed a bumper budget, pointing out that while excursion fees were paid to the school, the money was ultimately spent elsewhere. "It is more equitable to give them an option (for extracurricular activities) because their only other option (to do them) is to go to a private school and spend more money," he said.
Como Secondary College's Parents and Citizen's association mainly raises funds through its canteen, which ran at a loss last year. On the My School website under the school's finances, Como's other private sources of income, which includes donations from the P&C and revenue from the canteen or bookshop, was $244,121.
"We don't have $244,000 tucked away anywhere," Como's P&C treasurer Vicki Nevermann said.
Ms Nevermann, a parent of one child that attends the school, said the financial breakdown on the website was incomprehensible. "The figures are very woolly," she said.
"If I have the financial figures available to me and I have no idea what they are talking about, how is someone else supposed to know."
In the last few years, the P&C has donated about $25,000 to the Como school for electronic whiteboards, a musical instrument trailer and to increase the number of scholarships to the school. Mt Lawley High School P&C secretary John Pryor said his group raised money for trips, excursions, additional tuition, sports equipment, music instruments and computers"We're trying to provide equipment that would not otherwise be purchased by the education department," he said.
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