The CLP Government has today admitted they plunged our schools into crisis and are scrambling to restore funding cuts to education with an immediate $23 million investment to avoid a disastrous start to the 2015 school year.
COGSO representing Territory families, the Australian Education Union representing teachers, the CPSU representing staff and Territory Labor all railed against the cuts to education being delivered through the CLP Government’s Global School Budgets and were told we were simply “scaremongering” and this backflip today is an admittance the CLP got it horribly wrong.
“For months the pleas of Territory teachers, parents, students and school councils fell on the deaf ears of former Minister for Education, Peter Chandler,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Despite the CLP Government repeatedly saying that no school would be worse-off under the Global School Budgets model, schools budgets were plunged into the red and school councils bravely fought budget cuts to staff and programs prior to Christmas.
‘Many School Councils wrote to the CLP Government to inform them of budget problems caused by Global School Budgets and to reject this form of funding.
“Now, with just days to go before students return to school, the CLP Government does a $40 million backflip to patch up the Education crisis they created.”
Ms Lawrie said since May last year Labor, the AEU and COGSO had strongly opposed the cuts being delivered through the new Global Schools Budgets model, pointing out the harm it would cause the Territory’s education system.
“Territory students deserve an education system that is appropriately funded to provide them with the best opportunities and education outcomes available,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Under the CLP Government schools have suffered back-to-back funding cuts that have taken their toll.
“Labor values education and has always made it an investment priority. We’ve had two years of chaos under the CLP. This is a victory for our educators.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
The Member for Nhulunbuy, Lynne Walker, today said Shepherdson College on Elcho Island may be left with eight too few teachers at the start of the 2015 year due to the troubled roll-out of Global School Budgets.
“At Shepherdson College some 14 teachers have been told to pack up and be ready to go by tomorrow,” Ms Walker said.
“Flights and removalists have been booked for these teachers out and they have vacated their accommodation.
“But now the Department of Education is saying they made a mistake in their allocation of the Global School Budget and eight of those teachers no longer need to be cut.
“Why did the Government not cancel these removals on Tuesday when the Chief Minister announced the Education Minister would review all schools global budgets?
“How many other schools are losing teachers because of mistakes?
“This is an expensive waste of resources and causes unnecessary chaos and confusion for Shepherdson College and our local community.”
Ms Walker said that good teachers in our remote communities should be supported rather than sacked due to the bungling of Education under Minister Peter Chandler.
“This chaos has deeply affected a great school community at the end of a year when they should be celebrating success and getting ready to enjoy the Christmas break,” Ms Walker said.
“It is inexcusable bungling and further proof that the CLP education cuts are being rushed with a disastrous impact on our school communities.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Shadow Minister for Education, Nicole Manison, today said the Casuarina Senior College (CSC) School Council last night rejected the CLP Government’s Global School Budget which would cut staff and subject choices for students.
“The CSC parents are appalled that for the third year in a row the CLP are cutting resources to a school that is keen to deliver teaching excellence to our children,” Ms Manison said.
"Despite promises that no school would be worse off, Global School Budget allocations are forcing schools to have to make more cuts.
“Global School Budgets are cuts by stealth to the Territory’s education system.
“To deliver the Global School Budget, CSC would have to cut 5.8 teachers and their home liaison officer and still be $672,000 in the red.
“With these cuts students would see reduced subject selections.
"I hope the Minister for Education Peter Chandler meets with the School Council urgently as they have requested.
“The Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie is a CSC School Council parent and shares their concerns about the cuts.”
Ms Manison said students across the Territory deserve well-resourced schools, instead they are facing a third straight year of cuts under the CLP Government.
“Peter Chandler promised no school would be worse off under Global School Budgets. The fact is schools are worse off and he needs to take action to stop the cuts and honour his promise.”
Shadow Minister for Education, Nicole Manison, today said Territory schools are struggling to put together 2015 budgets without making cuts under the CLP Government’s new global budgeting model.
“The Minister for Education, Peter Chandler said ‘No school will be worse off in 2015 as a result of the introduction of global school budgets’, but that doesn't appear to be the case,” Ms Manison said.
“Many schools are struggling to meet their budgets without making cuts in 2015.
“There are concerns being raised that schools have not had the entire teacher’s pay rise factored into their budgets and will have to find some of it elsewhere.
“There are widespread fears that schools will have to sacrifice more experienced teachers because they won’t be able to afford the wages.
“The CLP Government needs to guarantee to every school council around the Territory that additional funding will be provided to cover the teacher pay deal.
“They also need to guarantee that no school will be worse off in 2015 as Education Minister Peter Chandler has promised.
“Schools have been under immense pressure to submit their budget to the department at this busy time of the year.
“Schools and their councils should not be forced to sign off on budgets that will mean cuts for their schools,” Ms Manison said.