Private schools using taxpayers’ millions for flash facilities
Posh private schools are using taxpayer funds for "fencing pistes and orchestra pits'' as state schools struggle to pay for airconditioning, a teachers' union claims.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) slammed the Morrison Government for giving private schools cash to build new infrastructure.
AEU president Correna Haythorpe said public schools, which have buildings and facilities paid for by state governments, did not receive a cent of federal funding for infrastructure.
She said it was unfair that wealthy schools receive so much taxpayer funding when public schools are struggling.
"Public schools are fundraising for basic things such as air conditioners and textbooks for students while the Morrison government is providing billions of dollars for second swimming pools, mock medieval libraries, retractable orchestra pits and fencing pistes in private schools,'' she said.
"Public schools teach the vast majority of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
"Many students are coming to school hungry and the federal budget simply neglected to address the issue.''
Tuesday's federal budget gave $88 million to The Smith Family and The Clontarf Foundation charities to help the most disadvantaged students get through school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Haythorpe said caring for struggling students should not be left to charity.
"For the government to wash their hands of their responsibility for children is an insult to teachers who have struggled all year under the most trying conditions,'' she said.
Public schools - which educate two-thirds of Australian students - will receive $9 billion in federal funding this financial year, on top of state government funding.
Private schools, which rely on federal funding and tuition fees of up to $37,000 a year, will share $12.8 billion of taxpayer funding this year.
Federal funding to private schools will grow 26 per cent over the next three years, compared to 22 per cent for public schools.
Independent Schools Council of Australia chief executive Margery Evans yesterday said it was important to support disadvantaged students, and that charities "do a great job''.
She said not all private school students hail from wealthy families.
"The independent sector is highly diverse and it supports a range of low income families as well as high income families,'' she said.
"We reject any claim we get an unfair cut of the federal budget.''
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan yesterday called on state and territory governments to pour more money into public schools.
He said federal funding for state and territory government schools had soared 55 per cent in real terms between 2008 and 2018, while state funding grew just 7 per cent.
Originally published as Private schools using taxpayers' millions for flash facilities