It appears the Baillieu Government is trying to fleece Victorian schools of $9.4 million delivered as rewards by the Federal Government for meeting national literacy and numeracy targets, the Shadow Minister for Education, Rob Hulls, said today.
Mr Hulls said the Education Minister, Martin Dixon needed to explain why federal funding for schools had been transferred from his Education Department to Treasury coffers.
In 2009, the former Labor State Government signed a bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth to reward schools who met literacy and numeracy targets.
“The reward funding was meant to flow to schools. But the Baillieu Government has grabbed the cash for itself,” Mr Hulls said.
“Schools expected the funding earlier this year, but have now been told the funding has been transferred from the Education Department to Treasury and that the Education Department will now need to bid for the funds.”
Mr Hulls said Kambrya College at Berwick wrote to Mr Dixon asking why $140,000 in funding allocated to the school had been withdrawn and given to Treasury.
Kambrya College Principal Michael Muscat wrote:
“I urge the Minister to disperse these funds as originally intended so that our financial commitments for 2011 can be met. We strongly believe that we have earned the ‘reward money’ of this program and any review of our school data would verify this”.
Mr Hulls said Kambrya College’s numeracy and literacy program had produced positive results with improvements in both NAPLAN and VCE data.
“Instead of punishing schools like Kambrya College, the Baillieu Government should be supporting them by expanding successful literacy and numeracy programs. With only six weeks left until schools break-up for the year, teachers are unable to plan properly for the 2012 year with this latest funding cut threat hanging over them.”
Mr Hulls said Mr Dixon needed to give the funding back to schools so they can meet their 2011 financial obligations.
“If not, he must provide details of all schools that have had their reward funding withheld and tell us why this is the case.”
Mr Hulls said the Baillieu Government had cut the education budget by $481 million, scrapped 200 teaching and learning coaches, 45 literacy experts and 15 specialists to help Aboriginal students.
“And now Mr Dixon is penny-pinching funds given as rewards to schools to run literacy and numeracy programs.
“You don’t have to be top of the class to realise that cutting millions from education, slashing programs and stripping dedicated education funding will have a detrimental impact on education for Victorian students.”