As Australia’s state governments settle into 2013, new trends are emerging in school funding plans.
In NSW tied funds have been freed, giving schools an increase in spending authority. The release of these previously tied funds is a positive step for suppliers looking to access the education sector, especially in the wake of the now completed Gillard government-backed DER funding. The freeing of the tied funds is hoped to allow schools to spend money at their discretion. Companies that could benefit include technology firms, building contractors, stationery suppliers and others. All purchases must be under $5,000, which is ideal for community projects and small school improvements.
It’s part of the NSW initiative Local Schools, Local Decisions that promises to reduce red tape and transfer more spending power to the schools themselves. Part of the 2013 plan is for schools to directly manage up to 70% of their total budget. More information on budget plans for NSW schools can be found on their managing resources guide and a full list of the promises for local working contracts can be found on the working locally guide .
The funding restriction removals do not extend to tied funds such as National Partnerships, funds received from other external bodies or funds held on behalf of a school education area, local management group, region or other such body.
This release of discretionary funds in NSW coincides with the states and territories across Australia rejecting the funding model proposed under the Gonski review.
As Prime Minister Julia Gillard races towards the election she has emerged with a promise to end state disputes and push Gonski-based legislation through parliament before September 14. As reported in The Australian, the Prime Minister is determined to move the legislation through, saying ‘it’s not about the fight, it’s about the outcome'.
However at the recent COAG meeting all states have rejected the proposals, saying they will result in another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy for Australian schools. As reported by The Australian the Government's proposal were not only rejected by the Liberal-run states but also the Labour allies of South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.
The Gonski review plans could see up to $6.5 billion injected into the schools annually, implemented over a six year period.
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett took the strongest stand against the education reforms, telling the Australian they were 'an offence to Western Australia' and would result in a 25% funding cut for the state's schools.
'It brings a whole new layer of education regulation from Canberra,' the Premier said.
With all states rejecting the plans Prime Minister Julia Gillard is now facing an up-hill battle in trying to gather the necessary support before the election.
As more information unfolds on school funding and the Gonski review A-ZGovBIZ will be covering the events on our Twitter account. Follow us from twitter.com/AZGovBIZ as we tweet important information targeted to suppliers interested in the public sector and education.