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Funding deal helps Catholic schools limit fee increases
    Catholic Education offices have been able to limit school fees increases for 2001 to just under than 3% after their success in negotiating a separate Federal education funding deal.
    The increases will lift the annual tuition fee for a senior high school student in a Catholic systemic school in Sydney to $1308. Parents of students in Catholic primary schools will pay $558 a year.
    Executive director of the Catholic Education Office for the Archdiocese of Sydney, Br Kelvin Canavan, told The Sydney Morning Herald that the decision to increase fees was taken reluctantly as increases made it difficult for some families to keep their children in Catholic schools.
    He said: "This increase will help the school system manage rising costs, including a 3% teacher salary increase in July 2001 and additional insurance and superannuation charges."
    But yesterday the NSW Parents and Citizens' Association, representing parents of students in government schools, hit out at the Catholic school fee increases. Association president Ms Bev Baker said Catholic systemic schools provided the biggest competition to government schools because of their low fee structure.
    Under the proposed funding formula the 1,600 schools in the Catholic system will get funds on a different basis from other private schools. With 20% of the Australian school-age population attending Catholic schools, the Federal Government has agreed to treat systemic Catholic schools as a whole and make funding available under a formula which works out at just over 56% of the cost of educating a student in a government school. Non-systemic schools (such as those run by religious congregations) will be treated on the same terms as other non-government schools.
   
SMH
   
27-Nov-00