BUDGET: Little new for education in Hunter

By , 10/04/2019 12:15

THERE was little in the state budget specifically for Hunter schools with most of the government’s attention directed to funding the federal government’s Gonski reforms.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said it was a record $14billion education budget for 2013-14.

In included $153million towards the extra $5billion nationally to deliver the Gonski reforms up to 2019, which will benefit Hunter schools.

That state government has also put aside $320million for school maintenance, a 23per cent increase, and nearly $1billion for private schools.

There were five new schools for Sydney but none for the ever-bulging Hunter.

‘‘The NSW Government is spending $301million on early childhood education and care, continuing the focus on universal access to quality early childhood education in the year before school,’’ Mr Piccoli said.

The state government also noted its plan to give greater control over school budgets to principals would be rolled out in 2014 through a staggered implementation.

‘‘The reforms currently under way in NSW are already consistent with the direction of the Gonski report,’’ Mr Piccoli said.

‘‘These reforms will be see funding targeted to where it is needed most.’’

Capital works in the Hunter long on parents’ agendas and still not funded included a high school at Medowie, replacement building for demountables at The Junction Public, a creative arts centre at Callaghan College Jesmond Campus, new school at Cameron Park and new buildings at Ashtonfield Public.

What was funded was the Rutherford High School upgrade and the Maitland Tutorial Central Relocation.

There was also almost $9million to relocate Gosford Public School.

Statewide there was $2.3billion for TAFE and other vocational training including at Hunter TAFE where there was money for Kurri Kurri Campus Plant and Heavy Vehicle Training Centre and $6.2million for Maitland Campus Centre for Dry Wall Plastering and Associated Trades.

WAITING TOO LONG: From left to right, Hayley, 12, and Rose Jorgensen, 13, Sharon Pascoe, Breanna Almond, 16, and Abbey Marshall, 14, from Lake Macquarie High School. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Spending welcomed

REACTION: IT’S like pulling teeth.

That’s the experience of Hunter parents trying to get school maintenance funding from the NSW Education Department.

Parent groups welcomed news in yesterday’s state budget of a 23 per cent increase to maintenance funding for schools and principals getting increased control over school budgets.

Lake Macquarie High P and C president Sharon Pascoe said their 53-year-old school’s buildings needed regular work such as gutters unclogged, painting and cracked concrete repair.

‘‘We have got to the stage where just pay for it ourselves,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a huge priority for us.’’

A better share of funding for state schools under the Gonski reforms was also welcomed. The changes should see more funding for students with special needs and Ms Pascoe said the school would like to get more teacher’s aides for them.

‘‘It’s only going to benefit students,’’ she said.

Ms Pascoe was disappointed not to see mention of money for school security fences.

Lake Macquarie High is on a large site at Booragul and has previously lost a building to arson and fallen victim to a serious graffiti attack.

Parents have been lobbying for more than five years for a fence.

‘‘They tell us we’re top of the list then we find out there is no list.’’

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