‘Schools must not be hit in Budget repair’

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – We are seeking a commitment from the Gunner Government to exempt schools from budget savings measures.

 

We are extremely disappointed to see the Territory government plans to reduce spending on school budgets from July 1 by $21.5m over the next five years.

 

Government provides “indexation” funding for school budgets to match inflation. This indexation amount allows schools to cover rising costs of services and to fund wage increases.

 

Any reduction in indexation means schools will have to find savings in other ways to cover rising costs each year. It will mean cutting teacher positions, subject choices and the risk of crowded classrooms.

 

It is important that our schools are not affected in the delivery of educational outcomes for our children. Our schools and families have already done the heavy lifting over past years.

 

The previous government failed to invest each year in our children and worse, slashed millions of dollars and hundreds of staff from school budgets.

 

Schools have only just now returned to 2012 funding levels. An election commitment in 2016 by the current government of an additional $20m into school budgets each year for four years has steadily brought our schools back to 2012 funding.

 

“We understand the Northern Territory is facing a challenging set of circumstances. However, actions taken by government to achieve savings must never be at the expense of our children’s education.

 

We welcome Chief Minister Michael Gunner ’s previous statement that “education is a core value and if you mean that, you put kids first and you shape your budget around kids. And we will do that.

 

This is now an opportunity for the Gunner government to give families and communities of more than 34,000 children an assurance they will not only sustain funding but provide schools with the full rate of indexation funding.

 

Tabby Fudge (pictured)
President, Northern Territory Council of Government School Organisations.

 

 

 

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