Gonski backflip derided by principals

REGARDLESS of whether they’re public, Catholic or independent, principals across StMarys-Mount Druitt have grave concerns about future funding.

Federal EducationMinister Christopher Pyne has been accused of breaching his pledge to commit to Gonski reforms implemented by the former Labor government.

St Clair High School principal Chris Presland consulted his school community last week about how to spend the extra $515,000 allocated for next year.

But the NSW Secondary Principals Council deputy president fears it will be the last extra funding his school will get.

‘‘The Gonski reformwasn’t a political exercise, it was conducted by bureaucrats who found the old model irresponsible and unfair,’’Mr Presland said.

‘‘It delivers equal funding for schools. It’s not about public versus private schools, it’s about a fairer way of funding which to their credit the NSW government was quick to realise.’’

Mr Presland has some advice for the minister: 

‘‘Listen to the experts and forget the politics,’’ he said. ‘‘Do what’s right for Australian students.’’

Mamre Anglican School will also get extra funding next year but principal Victor Branson fears his independent school may struggle beyond that.

 ‘‘This is clearly an absolute breach of a promise by the government,’’ he said.

‘‘Gonski was a good model for schools with disadvantaged students. It makes budgeting very difficult, not so much next year but it’s crucial for the next five years. We have a number of autistic children here who I have no doubt will be affected.’’

Our Lady of Rosary Primary School St Marys principalMark Geerligs hosted then prime minister Julia Gillard when the Gonski report findings were unveiled early last year.

‘‘All we want is certainty beyond 2014,’’ he said. ‘‘The uncertainty doesn’t allow us to plan appropriately.

Schools like us need all the support they can get. We want to provide the best education for our students in the classroom so we need this to be resolved as quickly as possible.’’

‘Parents, teachers, students deserve better than this’

Parents, teachers and students should feel justifiably outraged the Prime Minister has ripped off nearly 70 schools in the Chifley electorate alone, says its Labor MP Ed Husic.

“Ours is an area of high need that deserves more support and funding – not less,’’ he said.

‘‘Parents, teachers and – importantly – students across Mount Druitt, Rooty Hill through to Blacktown deserve better than this and we should fight this broken promise every step of the way.

‘‘Christopher Pyne has shown himself to be an amateur in just a few months in the job as education minister. It’s a massive embarrassment when someone from your own side in [NSW Premier] Barry O’Farrell bags you in public and says you’re still acting like you’re in opposition.’’

The Star sought comment from local Lindsay MP Fiona Scott, one of a few western Sydney Liberal MPs.

When told which school principals had expressed concerns, she refused to comment.

‘‘They aren’t in my electorate,’’ she said.

‘‘If there’s a principal in my electorate who has

raised their concerns about this then I will contact them.’’

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