September 8, 2012 3:55 pm
For the first time ever, all Catholic schools in NSW face a radical and immediate cut to their NSW government funding.
“Across NSW, State Government grants for Catholic systemic schools will be cut by $24.5 million per year, resulting in cuts of $2.5 million for local Catholic schools,” Diocese of Lismore, Catholic Schools Office Director, David Condon said today.
“Catholic schools already operate on less money than both government and independent schools. With these cuts coming out of the blue, with teaching levels for 2013 already locked in, it will be hard to stop negative impacts on our schools. A $2.5 million cut equates to a loss of 25 full time teaching positions in Catholic parish schools, in the Diocese of Lismore.”
NSW State Government grants provide 20% of the annual recurrent income for systemic Catholic schools in NSW. They pay for things like teacher salaries and the day to day basic running costs of every one of the forty-seven parish Catholic schools in Lismore.
“This decision is an unprecedented withdrawal of government aid to Catholic schools, and breaks the long established trust of parents in continued government support for Catholic schools.”
“The cuts will affect every parish school in the Diocese of Lismore,” Mr Condon said.
“Many parents in our schools are already struggling to make ends meet, and they make sacrifices to meet their child’s educational needs. Regrettably, a cut like this might require schools to raise fees to the amount of 12%,or make other cuts to compensate for the loss of NSW Government grants.
“I’m calling on NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to rethink what amounts to the biggest threat to NSW Catholic schools in decades, and to provide reassurance to the Catholic community and those families of all religious backgrounds who entrust their children to Catholic schools,” Mr Condon said.
It is ironic that the NSW Government’s decision to slash funding comes just days after the Federal Government released its response to the Gonski report which commits an extra $6.5 billion for educating our children.
Parents of students in parish Catholic schools across the diocese have reacted with disbelief and outrage at the news of impending State government recurrent funding cuts.
Four rallies of concerned parents are being held in various centres in the diocese including Lismore so that State politicians will be clearly aware of the grave concerns that parents hold for the continued sustainable funding of Catholic schools.