THE Armidale diocese’s director of Catholic schools has slammed funding cuts to the education system announced by the NSW government.
John Mula labelled last Tuesday as “a black day for education” and said the cuts, announced by Education Minister Adrian Piccoli and Premier Barry O’Farrell, would “disappoint and anger” parents of students in all government, Catholic and independent schools across the state.
“Students in all NSW schools and TAFEs will be the losers as a result of the announcement made by the O’Farrell government,” Mr Mula said.
“Make no mistake – this decision will hit hard right across the education sector.”
He said for non-government schools the four-year funding freeze effectively meant a cut in “real terms”.
“Education costs generally increase by 6 per cent per year,” he said.
“This will certainly have an impact on the services that we will be able to provide to students in the years ahead.
“I believe that our children deserve better.”
Mr Mula said he believed the cuts were short-sighted and contradicted the recommendations of the Gonski Review, which received widespread support and were endorsed by Mr Piccoli.
“There is widespread agreement that an overall increase in funding is needed for students in all Australian schools, particularly those in regional and remote areas, “ Mr Mula said.
“This is a blow to families in rural NSW already disadvantaged due to factors of location.”
He said parents in the diocese’s school communities had already expressed deep concerns about proposed cuts to education.
“Although the cuts ... are not as savage as first proposed, I am sure (parents) will still be dissatisfied with the government’s action,” he said.
“They realise there will be an impact on the services that our schools will be able to provide for their children.
“This decision to de-invest in education sends the wrong message about what we should value most as a society.”