Too cruel for school: Teacher fury as New England schools face $42 million funding cut

STANDING THEIR GROUND: Bullimbal’s NSW Teachers’ Federation representative Greg O’Sullivan, left, and Katrina and Angus Webb, Natasha and Milla Dietrich and Thomas and Ashley Webb want the community to get behind a campaign to restore education funding. Photo: Barry Smith 270514BSA02

STANDING THEIR GROUND: Bullimbal’s NSW Teachers’ Federation representative Greg O’Sullivan, left, and Katrina and Angus Webb, Natasha and Milla Dietrich and Thomas and Ashley Webb want the community to get behind a campaign to restore education funding. Photo: Barry Smith 270514BSA02

A TAMWORTH school is urging the community to voice its anger about federal education cuts in an effort to stop local students being denied millions in additional funding over the next six years.

While the federal government is sticking to its commitment to honour existing school funding arrangements over four years to the end of 2017 – based on the recommendations of the Gonski review – it will negotiate new agreements with the states and territories from 2018, prompting NSW Premier Mike Baird to insist his federal counterparts stick to the signed six-year agreement.

Local NSW Teachers Federation organiser Susan Armstead said under the Gonski agreement, two-thirds of the $14.5 billion funding pool was to be delivered in years five and six.

With the scrapping of the final two years of the agreement, she said it equated to a cut of almost $42 million for New England schools.

For Tamworth’s Bullimbal School, which caters to about 50 students with special needs from Kindergarten to Year 12, it’s a loss of $200,000, a cut parents fear will have enormous consequences for their children.

That’s included in $14.6 million worth of cuts for schools across Tamworth, says Tamworth Teachers’ Association president Rebecca Hancock.

“Schools are furious, they’re absolutely furious that you can rip that amount of money out of our schools. We’re educating the future doctors, lawyers, teachers ... and they’re saying that kids don’t matter,” she said.

Bullimbal’s NSW Teachers’ Federation representative Greg O’Sullivan said the government had “broken its promise” and “abandoned the Gonski principle of needs-based, targeted funding”.

“Instead, it has delivered a budget that will entrench disadvantage and deny thousands of students the education they need to reach their potential,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

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