Speculation is swirling in the public education sector that details of deep job cuts - to teaching and administrative staff - will soon be announced by the Barnett Government.
A meeting of south metropolitan principals scheduled for today, which they believed was a briefing on how they would be expected to find "efficiencies", was cancelled by the department yesterday without explanation.
"The meeting called for Friday 16 August has been postponed until further notice," a departmental email to principals read. "We will advise you at the earliest opportunity as to the new date for the briefing."
The West Australian understands there have been talks in recent weeks between the Education Department, Treasury and their respective ministers about how many jobs will be cut.
An initial suggestion that 1000 jobs could go was rejected after discussions between Education Minister Peter Collier, Treasurer Troy Buswell and Premier Colin Barnett.
The Government last night rejected the suggestion that 1000 jobs would go but did not deny there would be cuts.
In Upper House question time yesterday, Mr Collier said he did not know why the south metropolitan meeting had been cancelled but foreshadowed an announcement about staffing within weeks.
In a statement Mr Collier said: "As the recently released Teese review has found, the current method of distributing public school funds is outdated, inflexible and does not best meet the needs of today's students. As I have previously said, the Government takes these findings seriously and work is being done to develop a better (funding) model."
Mr Buswell said there was an extra $1.2 billion for education in the State Budget, but did not rule out job cuts.
"Education, like every other government agency is required to deliver services in a way that delivers value for money to the taxpayer," he said.
"Now we are faced with the reality that for almost every nine children entering the system, that model funds an extra full-time employee. This is just not sustainable in a period of record student enrolment growth."
Shadow education minister Sue Ellery called on the Government to announce its plans immediately."There is significant uncertainty and fear about what is really in this Budget for schools," she said. "The minister needs to come clean now and tell schools what each of their cuts will be."