Liberal funding advert 'hugely inflated', say teachers
Liberal Party has advertised that Woy Woy's secondary college campus will receive twice as much it will actually receive, according to Teachers Federation members at the campus.
The advertisement in the June 13 edition of Peninsula News claimed that Brisbane Water Secondary College Woy Woy campus would receive an extra $14.9 million, implying a similar amount would be received by Umina campus.
Ettalong Woy Woy Teachers Federation president Mr Christopher Wright said: "Because it is one college with two campuses, Brisbane Water Secondary College receives its funding in one sum.
"This means that the Liberal Party has advertised a hugely inflated figure of $14.9 million of additional funding for Woy Woy Campus alone."
He said it could be "deliberately misleading information in the Liberal Party advertisement to make the funding sound more impressive".
Alternatively, local Liberal Party representatives did not know "the school names and student numbers of the schools in their local learning community".
Mr Wright said that the advertisement stated that the Liberals would deliver "fully-funded, needs-based funding".
"Whatever the phrase 'fully funded needs based funding', as used in the Liberal Party advertisements, means to the Liberal Party, it is certainly not equivalent in meaning to fully funded needs based funding according to the National Education Reform Agreement.
Over 2018 and 2019, the college would receive a total increase in funding of $499,302.
"If the National Education Reform Agreement (the previously agreed Gonski funding model) were to be honoured by the Federal Government, then over the same two years Brisbane Water Secondary College would have received an increase in funding of $2.3 million."
Mr Wright said the figures quoted of $14.9 million "in additional funding" for Brisbane Water Secondary College Woy Woy Campus and $5.8 million for Umina Beach Public School were based upon the Australian Government's School Funding Estimator.
Both NSW Minister of Education Mr Rob Stokes and NSW Departmental Secretary Mr Mark Scott had stated it should not be relied upon because the basis of the estimate was unknown, he said.
"That there are some inaccuracies on the school funding estimator website is certain.
"For example, the Umina Campus of Brisbane Water Secondary College is not mentioned at all.
"Umina Beach Public School is inaccurately named.
"What other inaccuracies there may be in the school funding estimator is unknown."
Mr Wright also questioned the assumptions behind the estimate.
"The time period for this 'additional funding' for the two schools mentioned is not specified in the Liberal Party advertisements.
"On the estimator website an increase of only $243,800 is listed for Woy Woy Campus and $95,800 for Umina Beach Public School in 2018.
"This certainly looks less impressive than the 10-year increase figures cited of $14.9 million and $5.8 million respectively.
"These 10- year figures are simply determined by assuming that funding per school would otherwise remain completely static at the 2017 amount for the entire following decade.
"Furthermore, given that a 10-year period is much longer than the Federal political cycle, it is also conceivable that, like the final years of the National Education Reform Agreement funding, some years of this iteration of school funding may never see the light of day.
"These considerations make the cited figures of $14.9 million and $5.8 million not especially meaningful.
Mr Wright said: "As teachers, we care about the education of our students.
"We are concerned about the Federal Government's new policy on schools funding and in particular how our public schools will be disadvantaged by this policy.
"We support the full implementation of the National Education Reform Agreement's model of needs based school funding."
Teachers Federation members of the Woy Woy campus have unanimously passed a motion condemning the use of the College's name for party-political purposes.
"We condemn the association of Brisbane Water Secondary College Woy Woy Campus with misleading information about school funding, as occurred in the Liberal Party advertisement published in the Peninsula News on June 13," the motion said.
"We reject any implication by political parties that our College supports or should support a funding model that will deliver significant funding cuts to the students of the Peninsula."
The motion was passed unanimously on June 15.
Mr Wright said he had written to the Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, Senator Arthur Sinodinos and the Member for Robertson, Ms Lucy Wicks, about the advertisements published in the Peninsula News.
The advertisements were booked and paid for by the office of Senator Sinodinos.
Motion and letter, 20 Jun 2017
Christopher Wright, NSW Teachers Federation