With the state government and the ACT Government still in the grip of a financial crisis, funding for schools in Western Australia is set to grow in the coming months.
But what you need know about education funding, and how it’s spent in WA, is far more complicated than you might think.
Key points:Key pointsThe ACT Government announced a total of $4 billion in school funding in 2016-17The State Government and WA Government announced $3.9 billion and $1.8 billion respectivelyIn the last four years, the ACT government has spent $1 billion of its $4,943.4 billion school funding, while the WA Government has spent only $1,743.1 million of itThe ACT is spending the vast majority of its budget on schools, but it also provides assistance to local councils, which also pay the bills.
As part of the budget, the State Government has also committed to investing $1 million per school, which is roughly the same as what it spends in every state.
But the ACT’s school funding is different from the WA government’s, because it’s not the Government’s responsibility to ensure every child is able to attend a school.
Instead, it takes the money the WA spends and spends it on things like local education, health and welfare services, which WA’s education minister, Peter Barilaro, says is where the WA’s money comes from.
“I think it’s an amazing investment, we should all be proud of that investment, but we can only spend what we can afford to spend,” Mr Barilaros told 7.30.
“So, I think the question is, are we actually getting the education we deserve?
Are we getting the quality education that we deserve?”
What’s more, Mr Barrieros says the WA Education Department’s annual report reveals a “federalised system of education”.
“The WA Government is not accountable to the Commonwealth, so the WA school funding mechanism is very different from what the ACT has,” he said.
“There are two levels of government that get the education funding.”
One is the federal government, which has to spend it.
They spend it and the other is the local councils and local school boards, who get it, or the Commonwealth that provides it.
“The WA Education department has already put in place a plan to invest $1bn in local education over the next four years.
But that’s not enough to meet WA’s national target of providing all children with an A-level education by 2021.”
It is absolutely critical that we ensure that every child in WA is provided with the quality and quality education they deserve,” Mr Bartlett said.