Parents speak out against NSW cuts to education
|Rita and Bruno Davino, pictured with executive director of schools, Greg Whitby, said they encourage all parents to stay informed and to speak out against the NSW funding cuts |
Since the New South Wales Government’s announcement to cut $1.7 billion in school education funding and cap the level of funding to non-government schools over the next four years, parents have been vocal in their opposition to have the decision overturned.
To assist school communities in raising awareness of this issue, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta has launched a campaign website to provide school and parish communities with resources and information about the school funding cuts. Resources include sample letters to MPs, slogans for school talking signs and interviews with concerned educators.
In a message on the website, Executive Director of Schools, Greg Whitby, said the government’s decision to make cuts in school education was ‘mind boggling.’
‘At a time when there is general agreement that we need to invest more into the education of our young people, it is mind boggling that the NSW Government plans to reduce funding to all schools by 3%,’ said Greg. ‘There is no more important investment in society than the one in education. Education is the cornerstone upon which the next generation of ideas and innovation will emerge.’
Rita and Bruno Davino, parents of four children in the Diocese of Parramatta, said they were ‘shocked’ by the lack of consultation or warning from the government prior to the announcement.
‘It was definitely a turn-about in what the Liberal Government said in their pre-election promises that education would not be touched,’ said Rita. ‘It was one of the things we considered when making our vote.’
‘There has been so much press around the Federal Government’s Gonski report and a focus on education and ensuring that all children in Australia are well educated to get us into the top countries in the world… the State Government’s decision is inconsistent with that policy,’ said Bruno. ‘Education is an investment and we make the choice to send our children to Catholic schools because it offers a quality curriculum and supports the values that we support in our life.’
Rita added this is not about ‘us versus them’ in regards to government and non-government schools, they want fair and equitable funding for all regardless of choice.
‘Catholic schools offer what we are looking for for our children. It is a democratic country and we have a right to want a faith based education for our children. It’s our choice,’ said Rita.
Greg said the funding announcement caught everybody by surprise and he would have liked the opportunity to work collaboratively with the NSW Government prior to the decision.
‘We’re not arguing that we are a special case, this is happening all over NSW. Everyone understands the financial situation – the dollars are what the dollars are,’ said Greg. ‘You would expect in any areas where they intend to make cuts, they would sit down and work to minimise the impacts. But what has happened is, they just said ‘this money has gone, you solve the problem’. You can’t take $1.7 billion out of a budget and think that it is not going to affect front line services.’
‘We would have liked to work collaboratively with the government to figure out how we could work through the issues and how we could support them,’ he said. ‘Our campaign is about ensuring that parents have access to good and timely information and with contacts and advice on how they can make a difference because ultimately this is a long term process, the NSW Government need to be aware that this issue is not going to go away.’
Visit www.parra.catholic.edu.au/schoolfunding to let your voice be heard. Sign the online petition, contact your State and Federal MPs and have your say on this critical issue.
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