Illawarra schools could employ more special needs teachers, update ageing buildings and fund homework centres under a federal government plan to reform school funding, Throsby MP Stephen Jones told Parliament yesterday.
Mr Jones was among a number of Labor members who spoke in favour of the federal government’s education bill, which will pave the way for a new system of school funding if passed.
The bill is based on businessman David Gonski’s recommendations to establish a base funding rate for every student, with additional loadings given to disadvantaged, disabled and Aboriginal students.
Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne spoke against the government’s bill saying there was not enough detail about how the new funding model would work.
However, Mr Jones called the reforms ‘‘a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve our schools’’ and said it had strong support from principals, teachers and parents in his electorate.
He said Dapto High School had estimated they could receive up to $1.4 million in extra funding, if the reforms were introduced.
He said teachers had told him this funding would allow the school to employ a special needs teacher in every faculty, improve resources for their autism classes, provide a textbook for each subject for every student and improve the ageing library which had not been upgraded since 1975.
‘‘These are not exorbitant or immodest requests,’’ Mr Jones said.
‘‘Indeed, if you were to ask many people in this place they might be shocked to know that a school in an electorate such as mine did not have access to these sorts of facilities.’’
He also mentioned staff at Albion Park High School, Primbee Public School and Hayes Park Public School who were in favour of implementing the Gonski reforms.
The Australian Education Bill is due to be voted on later this year and if passed will take effect on January 1, 2014