A letter from Dr Lee-Anne Perry, executive director of the Queensland Catholic Education Commission, and Pam Betts, executive director Brisbane Catholic Education:
Much has been said in the lead up to and following the Federal Budget about future funding for Catholic schools and a lot of it has been confusing at best.
Firstly, it was disappointing that the Federal Government decided to announce changes to the way in which Catholic schools are funded without a proper process of consultation with the Catholic education sector.
It has also been frustrating that clear information about the announcement of the new 10-year funding package has not been able to be provided to the Catholic education sector. As we write, the National Catholic Education Commission is still pursuing the release of further information about the assumptions which underlie the Federal Government’s funding package.
While any increase in school funds will obviously be welcomed, we now know that any increase applied to the Catholic system overall will not necessarily result in the same uniform increases to schools within our system. Nor will increases in funding provided to the Catholic system overall necessarily equate with increases applied in other sectors. To many, that will seem unfair.
Schools, students and parents will face further uncertainty beyond 2021 when the growth in funding will move from fixed to variable indexation. There are also concerns about changes to the way assessments about funding for disability will be made. Together these issues could have serious implications for our schools, particularly in high growth areas and where they meet the needs of students with disabilities.
To add to the confusion about funding this week, the Government publicly released a School Funding Estimator which appears on the Quality Schools website. The figures on the School Funding Estimator are projections or notional figures only.
The Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) receives and distributes government funds for all Catholic schools in the state.
In the Brisbane Archdiocese, QCEC and Brisbane Catholic Education work together to distribute funds in a way that enables us to most accurately respond to individual school needs and circumstances. The actual funds received from all sources can be seen on the My Schools website, although the most recent year published is 2015.
We look forward to working with the Federal Government to finalise funding arrangements for our schools which are consistent and fair.