NSW plans to cut $317m from schools’ budget

September 10, 2012 by  
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State Labor MP, Mr Walt Secord says that NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell is causing uncertainty and angst in the community by refusing to detail his cuts to the non-government education sector, including Catholic and Jewish schools.

Upper House MP, Mr Walt Secord, who is also deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and a former Australian Jewish News journalist challenged the Premier to spell out his cuts.

Mr Secord demanded the Premier explain what he meant when he said he would not be intimidated by sectional interests.

Further, Mr Secord issued a direct challenge to Vaucluse MP, Gabrielle Upton to state whether she supported the cuts.

This morning in the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr O’Farrell said “we’ll make decisions based on the broad public interest, not sectional interests.” (Source: Sydney Morning Herald, page 3, “O’Farrell won’t bow to independent school heat”, September 9, 2012)

Last week, it was revealed that the O’Farrell Government has plans to cut $317 million in school funding – $250 million from public schools and $67 million from Catholic and independent schools.

The Catholic Education Commission wrote to NSW parents warning that the O’Farrell Government had briefed their sector to say that it was planning to cut non-government education.

The planned cuts are scheduled to take effect in January 2013.

“The Catholic educators state this would translate into a fee increase of almost $500 ($496) a student,” Mr Secord said.

“By anyone’s definition: that is a big hit to the family budget,” Mr Secord said.

“Premier Barry O’Farrell must spell out the cuts immediately and put an end to the uncertainty in the community.”

“Make no mistake, cutting $317 million from education – we will translate into cuts in the classroom.

“Whether it’s cuts to support for children with special needs, intensive reading recovery programs, curriculum support or teacher training – students in NSW government and non-government schools will suffer,” Mr Secord said.

The O’Farrell Government has already pledged to axe 2400 staff from schools and TAFE colleges – with TAFE teachers, teachers’ aides and support staff expected to be the first positions cut.  In addition, 272 schools have lost special needs funding under Barry O’Farrell.

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