NSW CEC disputes overpayment claims

Catholic Education Commission (NSW) has contested the claim that Catholic schools are being overpaid through government funding.

The Catholic Weekly reports while the Commission's executive director Dr Brian Croke supports the Rudd Government's decision to review the socio-economic status funding model, he says he does not believe taxpayers are paying $2 billion more than if the formula was strictly followed.

"The SES funding model started in 2000 applied only to independent schools. It was controversial enough then. The controversy centres on how you translate an SES score into an entitlement for grant," Dr Croke said.

"You are starting in 2000 introducing a new system for all Australian non-government schools that range from being 150 years to one year old. And all their different histories, capacities and financial resources, you suddenly want to apply a single template to them.

"The next quadrennium starts in 2009 and the incoming government has said a non-government school will not be worse off in 2009 in dollar terms, than it was in 2008."

Dr Croke said that when the Catholic school system was brought into the Commonwealth SES-based funding model in 2005 it was classified as 'funding maintained'.

"That is, it continued to be funded by the Commonwealth in 2005 at the same level as in 2004, so schools such as Gilroy College, Castle Hill, now accused of being overpaid ($12.2 million in the current four-year cycle) and in debt to taxpayers could continue their current levels of staffing and student support."

Dr Croke said that Commonwealth funding is important for Catholic schools "because it's our lifeblood".

"It is the main source of funding for Catholic schools and the Catholic system is dependent on Australian Government funding," he said.

Catholic schools not overpaid by Govt'(The Catholic Weekly 17/02/08)

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Catholic Education Commission NSW

14 Feb 2008