BRISBANE Catholic Education has reassured parents they will face “no major increase” in school fees next year.
In a letter to parents in 139 schools across the Brisbane archdiocese, executive director Pam Betts wrote: “… next year’s fees will be similar to this year’s, with a projected increase of somewhere around the three per cent mark, in line with the increase in our operating costs.”
The so-called Gonski 2.0 plan passed the House of Representatives on May 29, after weeks of criticism from the Catholic school sector that it would have to lift school fees by thousands of dollars from 2018.
Despite the assurances of no major fee increases, BCE is still concerned about how schools will be treated under the new Gonski 2.0 funding model.
“We believe the Government’s current plan does disadvantage Catholic schools in comparison with independent and state schools,” Ms Betts wrote.
“We are hopeful of a satisfactory resolution of these issues, so that all students across Australia receive a fair share of government funding.”
Education Minister Simon Birmingham welcomed the comments on school fees from Brisbane archdiocese, and said there had been interest groups continuing to “spread mistruths”.
Mr Birmingham has argued that under Gonski-based reforms funding for Catholic schools would be consistent with all other non-government schools.
“It means $1.2 billion worth of extra funding over the next four years and $3.4 billion extra over the next ten years. So, it’s actually a good deal. It’s also a fair deal,” Mr Birmingham said.
“And it’s been warmly welcomed and supported by Christian schools, by Lutheran schools, by Anglican schools; there’s no reason as to why the Catholic school system shouldn’t welcome exactly the same consistent treatment.”
However, Federal Labor continues to argue that the Government’s new funding model is billions of dollars less than what it had promised the schools sector.
Opposition’s spokesperson for education, Tanya Plibersek, said the cuts to schools would be $22 billion.
“Disgraceful. Our kids deserve better,” Ms Plibersek tweeted after the House of Representatives passed the package.