A retiring Liberal senator is threatening to cross the floor over the Turnbull government’s “Gonski 2.0” school funding model, saying the deal would dud Catholic schools.
The leaked modelling examines how public, Catholic and private schools around the country would be affected by the Senate’s decision to block or support the new funding model.
The secret data, which was provided to the Senate crossbench ahead of this week’s vote on the Coalition’s proposed school funding changes, shows Catholic schools missing out on $705m over the next four years while public schools reap $693m.
Education minister Simon Birmingham met the Catholic education representatives on Monday night, receiving such a haranguing that at times it was hard for him to get a word in. The situation could be worse for them than under the current legislation.
By contrast, Catholic schools across New South Wales would lose $1.16 billion if the changes are passed.
The Victorian public school sector would be funded at 86 per cent of the SRS by 2027 if the state government maintained current funding levels.
As for the private school sector, it is expected to see little changes.
But Catholic schools communities, the teachers’ union and Labor strongly oppose the plan and are likely to try to make their arguments heard.
“We can’t support legislation that is not genuinely needs-based and sector-blind”.
She wrote that Labor could increase the funding when in government “but the fundamentals of this reform are too important to not support”.
The Greens party room met on Wednesday but did not resolve a final position, pending further negotiations.
For example, the funding estimator says St Dominic’s School in Camberwell East received a federal government funding allocation of $756,600 this year, which would grow to $783,800 in 2018.
While not confirming where the talks were at, Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the government’s original proposal was not good enough in a number of key areas and changes were needed.
Earlier on Tuesday, Labor education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek urged the Senate not to pass a funding model that “parents hate, that teachers hate, that will be awful for Australia’s children”.
If Labor wanted to continue its insistence that schools will be short-changed by $22 billion it could take it to the next election, he said.
The modelling compares the government’s new model to a scenario where it is blocked by the Senate.
This will add $4.9 billion on top of the $18.6 billion in extra spending over a decade the government had already announced.
Senator Birmingham, above, said more pressure should be applied to state governments to boost funding to their public schools.
Education Department officials recently confirmed the deals are not legally binding and can be terminated at any time.