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New school funding model fails the fairness t. . .

17 September 2014
New school funding model fails the fairness test

A State Government proposal to give more money to some disadvantaged schools, will actually remove targeted assistance for education costs and leave thousands of students unable to participate in the opportunities school has to offer, warns the Victorian Council of Social Service.

“While the new funding model recognises the need for greater assistance for the most disadvantaged schools, it fails to reflect the reality that disadvantaged students exist across the whole school system,” said Emma King, VCOSS CEO.

“The proposed model removes clear eligibility criteria and will force families to go cap-in-hand to schools – putting principals in the invidious position of having to choose which students they will help, and how much assistance to give.”

“This subjective decision making is not transparent and there are no accountability measures to ensure the funds reach those students who need them the most.”

“Currently, the existing Education Maintenance Allowance provides parents with a level of dignity and discretion as they do not have to explain their financial situation each year. It also provides parents with choice as they can elect to use the funds themselves or sign the EMA over to school indicating how they want the money allocated.”

“According to the State Government’s own data, more than 70 per cent of families currently sign their EMA over to schools. The proposed reforms place a greater burden on parents to negotiate directly with the school regarding their financial difficulties. Many parents will not do so.”

“It will put an unreasonable administrative burden on schools.”

“Students who currently receive support through the Education Maintenance Allowance, and who miss out under the new funding model, will no longer be able to participate in the full range of activities that school has to offer.”

“In the lead up to the state election, VCOSS is leading a broad coalition representing community organisations, parents, students, teachers and school principals to call on all parties to commit to properly assisting families Cover the Costs of education.”

“VCOSS has developed an alternative model to the Education Maintenance Allowance that continues to provide targeted and individualised support to eligible low income families to assist them to meet the costs of education.”

“The government needs to listen to all stakeholders and refine their plans to deliver genuine support for all disadvantaged students, regardless of where they live.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Emma King with Emma King
please contact Ryan Sheales on 0418 127 153

Follow the conversation at www.twitter.com/vcoss

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T: 03 9235 1000 F: 03 9654 5749 W: http://www.vcoss.org.au E: vcoss@vcoss.org.au