It wasn’t a coincidence Illawarra’s federal and state MP’s chose to meet outside Warrawong High School to vent their frustration at the so-called Gonski 2.0 plan.
Armed with Freedom of Information (FoI) statistics revealing the region’s public schools will cop a $54.3 million cut over the next two years, the Labor politicians on Friday wowed to fight ‘’tooth and nail’ to make sure Malcolm Turnbull honoured the original Gonski funding agreement.
Warrawong, which is set to be slugged with a $1.3 million funding cut, is the worst hit school in the seat of Cunningham, much to the displeasure of its federal member Sharon Bird.
‘’Schools like Warrawong HS here are servicing a community that needs that additional funding. Instead they are going to lose over $1.3 million,’’ Ms Bird said.
‘’We are calling on Malcolm Turnbull to take away his obsession with pulling apart Labor policies. Our kids need the full Gonski.’’
Illawarra public schools facing the worst funding cuts were also in areas of greatest need, which the original Gonski funding agreement was meant to fix.
Lake Illawarra HS (1.18m) and Nowra East Public ($1.3m) are the worst hit schools in Whitlam and Gilmore respectively.
Gonski campaign co-ordinator Henry Rajendra from the NSW Teachers Federation, said ‘’these massive cuts’’ are far removed from the needs-based funding formula which so defines the original Gonski agreement.
‘’The Teachers Federation did an analysis of Federal Department of Education funding data and NSW Educational Department funding data and have discovered that there will be $846 million worth of cuts over the next two years to NSW public schools,’’ he said.
‘’Hundreds of schools will have to abandon programs such as improved literacy and numeracy programs, employing additional staff, reducing class sizes and employing specialists for kids that have speech and language disorders.
‘’Under Turnbull’s plan kids predominantly in poorer communities will be left behind.’’
Ms Bird, Paul Scully (Wollongong), Anna Watson (Shellharbour) and Ryan Park (Keira) said the NSW Government had an obligation to make the Prime Minister honour the original Gonski agreement.