Is Gonski 2.0 skilful trickery or chance to get schools funding right? Expert panel responds

by Peter Goss

Contribution to the article published by The Guardian, Tuesday 9 May

Taking money from overfunded schools is brave but the right call

The announcement on school funding is welcome. The Coalition has set out a 10-year goal of every school being consistently funded by the commonwealth. Importantly, the Coalition will increase federal contributions to government schools from around 17% to 20% of the “student resource standard”, a substantial boost.

How will it affect individual schools? While the announcement is light on detail, it appears most schools will get more funding; some overfunded schools will have their funding frozen; and a small handful of very rich private schools will lose money.

Taking money from overfunded schools is brave but the right call. These schools have been on a good wicket for too long. If the sweetheart deals were not overturned, it would cost the commonwealth budget around $1.5bn over next 10 years.

State and territory governments are expected to continue contributing to school funding but their contributions are not tied to the student resource standard in same way as under the previous model. That makes some sense, allowing states to choose how much they want to invest in schooling.

Of course the details need to be looked at closely but on first look this clear, positive approach could be just what we need to get us past the squabbling on funding – a key hurdle so that we can move on to bigger issues that will really drive improvements in school education.