School books open

Townsville Bulletin - - News - ed­u­ca­tion re­porter Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

THE fi­nan­cial po­si­tions of Townsville schools were re­vealed for the first time when t he f ed­eral gov­ern­ment’s con­tro­ver­sial My School web­site went live yes­ter­day in a move ex­pected to gen­er­ate wide­spread de­bate.

The city’s big­gest state schools bumped the large pri­vate schools for the most fund­ing per stu­dent, with the pub­lic schools re­ceiv­ing the ma­jor­ity of state gov­ern­ment fund­ing and pri­vate schools snar­ing up to eight times more fed­eral money.

Heat­ley State High School re­ceived the most fund­ing per stu­dent ($ 15,981) fol­lowed by Townsville State High School ($ 13,095) ac­cord­ing to

Non-Gov­ern­ment schools

Fed­eral

State

per

It’s the first time schools’ fi­nan­cial sta­tus has been pub­lished and it has di­vided opin­ion. Cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture has also been dis­played and bro­ken down by source of fund­ing.

Queens­land Coun­cil o f Par­ents and Cit­i­zens As­so­cia t i o n n o r t h e r n v i c e - pres­i­dent Mick Cut­ler said it was hoped this fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion would re­move the re­source gap that ex­ists be­tween schools.

‘‘ There has al­ways been a dis­par­ity be­tween the ( fi­nan­cial po­si­tion of) gov­ern­ment schools and non-gov­ern­ment schools,’’ he said.

‘‘ This ( fi­nan­cial) im­bal­ance needs to be cor­rected.

‘‘ This ( new ver­sion of My School) is great, it gives a bet­ter pic­ture of what is hap­pen­ing at a school. The pub­lic schools ( didn’t) want to di­vulge the ex­tent of their fi­nan­cial po­si­tion but this puts ev­ery­one on a more even play­ing field.’’

But In­de­pen­dent Schools Queens­land Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor David Robert­son said us­ing the fi­nan­cial data to com­pare one school with an­other was to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

‘ ‘ I t i s i mp o s s i b l e , f o r ex­am­ple, to ac­cu­rately com­pare an in­de­pen­dent school’s in­come to a state school’s in­come be­cause their cost struc­tures and ac­count­ing method­olo­gies are sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent,’’ he said.

‘‘ One im­por­tant dif­fer­ence i s t hat s t at e s chools i n Queens­land don’t r ecord cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture on Build­ing the Ed­u­ca­tion Revo­lu­tion ( BER) projects un­less t hey’ v e b e e n c o mplete d , while non-state schools record BER cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture on an ac­tual ba­sis.’’

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