$25 million more for school chaplains

Announcing that the Federal Government will provide funds to almost 1,400 schools to employ chaplains, Prime Minister John Howard said that a further $25 million will be allocated to the scheme.

"The overwhelming majority of schools made a strong case for the benefits that new or enhanced school chaplaincy services could provide to students in those schools," he said in a statement quoted in The Age.

"Accordingly, I have decided to allocate an extra $25 million to the program, enabling the government to provide funding to 1,392 schools in round one, a total of almost $77 million over three years."

"This commitment brings the total value of the program to $115 million over three years and allows for $38 million to be allocated in Round Two."

Schools which had unsuccessfully applied for chaplaincy funding will be able to reapply when the second round of applications opened in early July.

Mr Howard said 77 per cent of the institutions to receive funding from the first round of applications were government schools.

He rejected criticism that the initiative blurred the lines between church and state and discriminated in favour of Christians.

"It's no more of a cross-over between church and state then the government funding church schools," he told the Nine Network.

"They're not going to be enforcing any particular doctrine, but obviously they will approach these things from their own particular background but the idea will to be provide counselling, support and where appropriate spiritual guidance."

The Herald-Sun noted that more than 270 Victorian and schools will receive the funding with only 18 of the 293 Victorian schools who applied for the first-round funding missing out.

Almost 80 per cent of applicants were state schools.

The Courier-Mail

PM boosts funding for school chaplains (The Age, 28/6/07)
Chaplains for 275 Vic schools (News.com.au, 28/6/07)
Schools sign up 250 chaplains (Courier Mail, 28/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Chaplain program, Australian Government

Schools pick up Govt chaplaincy offer (CathNews, 30/5/07)
Catholic schools to reject Govt chaplaincy program (CathNews, 23/2/07)
Greens say chaplaincy group stacked (CathNews, 30/11/06)

28 Jun 2007