A bus outside a school is nothing unusual, but the green one at Kanahooka’s Hayes Park Public School on Tuesday had a message.
The Gonski bus pulled up at the school as part of a NSW Teachers Federation-led (NSWTF) campaign to secure needs-based funding.
The NSWTF says millions of dollars will be ripped out of Illawarra schools in 2018 and 2019, if the federal government stops Gonski funding at the end of the year.
At Hayes Park, the additional cash injection provided through Gonski has been put towards a “learning lab”, which helps students who are struggling to grasp reading and spelling.
For 45 minutes each day, those children get specialised help from a teacher and two aides.
“We’ve never been able to fund it before,” school principal Phil Seymour said.
Mr Seymour, who is also the president of the NSW Primary Principals Association, said Gonski was about “equity and excellence”.
“We need the equity funds to provide the support we need to get excellence from our kids,” he said.
Roanna Whittle, who has three students at Hayes Park, said Gonski allowed schools “to decide what they need, rather than the government”.
NSWTF president Maurie Mulheron accused the government of “demolishing” Gonski, with two-thirds of funding outstanding.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said “there are no funding cuts”.