The West

PM turns up heat on school funding
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Colin Barnett. Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian

Julia Gillard has revealed for the first time the amount of money each WA public school is likely to receive under Labor's proposed school funding reforms.

School-by-school data obtained by The West Australian reveals that more than 700 WA schools would get increases of between 19 per cent and 52.3 per cent for each student by 2019 if the State Government signs up to the national plan.

The projections show that Leinster Primary School in the Goldfields would be a big winner, with each student to get $20,900 within six years, up from $13,700 now.



The Prime Minister's office released the figures to renew pressure on Premier Colin Barnett to sign up to the Gonski education reforms by the June 30 deadline.

If the funding legislation passes the Senate but the State Government does not sign up, extra funding could flow to Catholic and independent schools but not to public schools.

The calculations released yesterday - based on enrolments, student mix and how much funding each school got in the past - show 65 schools would get an increase of more than 30 per cent a student.

Most of the schools are in rural areas, including Esperance Senior High which would double its total public funding from $14 million a year to $30.3 million by 2019.

Schools that already receiving additional Federal funding, known as national partnerships, would get a smaller percentage increase.

In a surprise move this week, Ms Gillard offered an extra $600 million to WA schools, conceding that Federal bureaucrats had underestimated the cost of educating children in such a vast State.

Mr Barnett said on Wednesday that the new offer was better than the previous one, which he described as "an insult to Western Australian schools". But he still did not see WA signing up to the reforms before the September election. Only NSW and the ACT have signed up to the national plan for school improvement, which uses a new "schooling resource standard" to fund schools, with extra loadings allocated to needy students.

Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the figures showed that every school in WA would get a funding increase.

Ms Gillard said students would miss out on an internationally competitive education without significant extra investment in WA schools. The money could deliver specialist literacy programs and more one-on-one support.

The West Australian

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