Primary schools are the winners under the State Government's new school funding model at the expense of secondary schools, which will have about $45 million taken out of their budgets in the next five years.
School heads yesterday had their first look at their preliminary budgets for next year under a new "student-centred" model, which will provide a base price for each student and more for Aboriginal or disadvantaged children.
The model is designed to improve WA students' results by putting more money into educating children in their early primary years.
High school students previously got $1.38 for every dollar that went to primary schools, but that gap will be reduced to about $1.25, bringing WA in line with other States.
Education Minister Peter Collier said though some schools would get less than expected, the "vast majority" would be better off under the new model.
"All we're doing is redistributing the pie to make it more equitable," he said.
Mr Collier said research pointed towards the value of early intervention.
"We don't want our secondary teachers spending most of their time dealing with basic literacy and numeracy skills, which should have been done in the early foundation years," he said.
Education director-general Sharyn O'Neill said the school funding system had been broken for 20 years, with money not flowing to students who needed it most.
Under the new model, every disadvantaged child would be funded, whereas previously a school had to have a big group of disadvantaged students to qualify. Ms O'Neill said no school would lose more than $250,000 a year under the transition to the new model.
State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne said that one-third of public schools would lose money under the new model and 13 schools would lose more than $1 million.
The department said four schools would get $1.25 million less than expected in the next five years but this would iron out anomalies left over from the old system.
WA Secondary School Executives Association president Janette Gee said the cut to high schools would have "serious ramifications" on education delivery.
Victoria Park Primary School principal Diane Tomlinson said her school had many children who would benefit from the new model because they did not speak English or were disadvantaged.