Council welcomes the 4% increase in expenditure on government schools. It is surprised though that total ACT and Federal Government expenditure on private schools has increased 8.1%, double the increase received by public schools.
It is well recognised that government schools are under resourced compared to many private schools. Council’s Acting President John Haydon says that “by increasing the expenditure on private schools at twice the rate as public schools, little is being done to redress this imbalance.”
There are many good things in the budget, in particular the $200,000 funding given to Council to improve P&C run canteens and purchase an online ordering system. The online ordering system will turn canteens into much more efficient operations.
“A good canteen can be the social centre of the school and also helps to combat obesity by providing healthy food for kids. This is great news for parents and children.” says John Haydon.
Council is also delighted to see money for a new Introductory English Centre to cater for refugee and migrant children who have little English.
The budget has allocated money in 2013-2014 for the finalisation of design of the new Coombs Primary School. However the Molonglo Valley already has many new occupied houses. Council is concerned that the children in these houses will not be able to attend a nearby public school for some years.
Council has identified that one of parents’ chief concerns is road safety around schools, including crossings, signage and speeding. Council is disappointed then that more money was not allocated to improving the road traffic infrastructure around schools.
Council is pleased that the ACT Government has provided more money for schooling in the ACT and is implementing many of the reforms envisioned under the National Plan for School Improvement.