Fund­ing cuts to hit schools hard

McIvor Times - - NEWS - By VIVI­ENNE DUCK

LO­CAL pri­mary schools will wave good­bye to $200,000 worth of gov­ern­ment fund­ing over the next two years.

If the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment fol­lows through with its com­mit­ment to cut needs-based fund­ing, coun­try public schools will be de­prived of ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams.

In 2018 and 2019 lo­cal public schools in Heath­cote, Mia Mia, Axedale, Redes­dale and Ep­palock will have to make the tough de­ci­sion to cut as­pects of their syl­labus when the funds dry up.

“The fund­ing they have cut will kick in from next year and will af­fect coun­try public schools the most,” Mem­ber for Bendigo Lisa Chester said. “It is just about fair­ness. “Our stu­dents in the coun­try de­serve the same op­por­tu­ni­ties and fund­ing as those stu­dents at pri­vate schools in the city.”

Lo­cal schools have been us­ing the fund­ing for pro­grams to pro­vide bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents who oth­er­wise wouldn’t have the chance.

“A lot of our schools sup­port chil­dren with spe­cial needs or who have a learn­ing de­lay,’’ Ms Ch­esters said.

“Some are cur­rently us­ing the fund­ing for out­door class­rooms cen­tred on cul­tural her­itage and sus­tain­abil­ity ed­u­ca­tion while oth­ers are us­ing it for gar­dens, art and lan­guage classes and a range of dif­fer­ent pro­grams to give all stu­dents ac­cess to the best ed­u­ca­tion.”

Ms Ch­esters said fam­i­lies who are do­ing it tough will be the most dis­ad­van­taged.

“School is giv­ing chil­dren in these fam­i­lies, espe­cially in Heath­cote, ac­cess to the tools they need to suc­ceed,” she said.

“Schools will now need to make tough choices and cut cer­tain pro­grams as they won’t be able to af­ford it.”

Ms Ch­esters said La­bor is just call­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to do the right thing.

“Small re­gional schools will be the worst hit such as Ep­palock Pri­mary School who work in an in­cred­i­bly small space,’’ Ms Ch­esters said.

“The cuts will also im­pact on stu­dents who have to travel to school such as stu­dents in Heath­cote and sur­rounds who go to Bendigo for high school.”

“Af­ter-school pro­grams will also miss out and will be put onto vol­un­teers.

“Ul­ti­mately the costs of ed­u­ca­tion will go up.

“We have great schools, we just need the gov­ern­ment to com­mit to fund­ing them.”

Mem­ber for Bendigo Lisa Ch­esters with stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in their out­door sus­tain­abil­ity and cul­tural stud­ies class which is one of the pro­grams un­der threat.

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