A decision not to provide relief for drought-affected families sending their children to public boarding schools has angered a former principal.
There are three agriculture public boarding schools in NSW - Farrer, Yanco and Hurlstone - and at the moment school parents cannot claim relief for their children if they come from drought-affected areas.
A former deputy principal and relieving principal of Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, Jim Levy, says the situation is "an equity matter".
But the NSW Government said it had recently given $100,000 to Tamworth-based Farrer, to help parents who may be struggling in the drought. It also moved to shore up Ag public schools with a raft of new funding announcements.
It announced a new Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education in the Hawkesbury, new selective streams of agricultural education at Richmond High School, and upgrades to the existing Hurlstone Agricultural High School at Glenfield.
Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the new model will "preserve and enhance the rich history of agriculture in the Western Sydney Region, and will support agricultural and STEM education needs for students across NSW".
"We have also consulted extensively on the existing Hurlstone Agricultural High School, and I am pleased it will now stay at its current Glenfield site as an academically selective, boarding, agricultural high school; keeping its name and receiving an upgrade to boarding facilities," Ms Mitchell said.
The Sydney south-west school has about 990 students enrolled for next year.
Mr Levy though is angry some ag boarding students will not get fee relief for the drought.
"The Farrer boarding parents are under the same stress as those who attend private schools," he said.
"It is dumb and divisive politics with people already under stress."
He said Federal drought relief programs specifically excluded public boarding schools, "of which there are three in NSW, Farrer, Yanco and Hurlstone. There are others in other states as well".
"According to the Boarding Schools Association Farrer is the second largest boarding school in the state. It would have the most boarders impacted by the current drought.
It is dumb and divisive politics with people already under stress.Jim Levy, Farrer School Foundation
"I have approached Mr Barnaby Joyce, my local member and Farrer school representative as well! He has made some representations on the schools behalf with no outcome as yet. He indicated that the public schools funding was a state matter.
"I have approached my local NSW member, Mr Kevin Anderson again with no change in outcome.
"I approached the NSW Minister for Agriculture Mr Adam Marshall, who referred me to Mr Joyce as this drought relief package was a federal matter.
"I have contacted the ICPA executive and they have expressed concern with how the policy is to be administered.
"There are a number of concerns here to me: this is an equity matter. The Farrer boarding parents are under the same stress as those who attend private schools. We could have the ridiculous situation where a Farrer parent with a daughter at Calrossy could get fee support for and not the other.
"There are parents who have had to withdraw their son from school, thare are others who are in arrears with their fees and there are prospective students not coming to Farrer as the parents have no income because of the devastating drought.
"The Farrer parents are paying the same taxes as the Riverview parent."
Ms Mitchell in a response for ACM said: "I understand that some families in regional parts of the state are doing it incredibly tough at the moment. The NSW Government has recently made an allocation of $100,000 to Farrer Memorial High School to assist boarding students and families to overcome financial stress. The school has distributed these funds to assist with associated fees linked to the education of the boarders.
"I am also currently exploring a range of other options to help support our schools and families affected by drought."