Online Christian schools have closed due to funding pressure from parents, students and parents, with schools closing for the first time in three years.
Key points:Schools across Australia are closing due to budget pressuresSchools are also facing budget cuts and staff shortagesSchools say they are being forced to make a tough decision about where to reopenSchools in Melbourne are closing on December 16 due to the budget pressures.
But while the closures are likely to hurt some schools the most, they are not likely to affect the majority of schools across the state.
The Government’s School Funding Strategy includes a target to cut school funding by 1.7 per cent in real terms over the next four years.
Schools have been struggling to make ends meet in recent years and have been forced to cut staff, reduce enrolment, and close facilities.
Students and parents say they were forced to go into debt for their children to attend private schoolsThe Government has promised to cut funding to public schools by an average of 4.2 per cent over the course of the budget, and many are now worried that the funding cut will mean that many schools will close.
“The Government really needs to be accountable to their students, their families, their teachers, their parents,” Dr Michelle Robinson, chair of the Victorian College of Education, told the ABC.
“It’s about time that they stopped spending more money on a bunch of schools and start paying it for the people that are actually actually working at the school.”
Dr Robinson said that many Victorian schools were struggling to meet their funding needs, with a shortage of teachers and staff.
“We’re looking at school closures of schools that are facing budget pressures and there’s also a lack of financial resources in the community for teachers and for facilities,” she said.
“So if you’re looking to get into a school that’s a little further from the city, or a little farther from the airport, then it’s going to be a big challenge.”
Dr Stephanie Gaffney, a spokesperson for the Victorian Christian Education Association (VCEA), said she hoped the budget situation would improve.
“Our schools are not in the financial doldrums, and we have been working with the Victorian Government to deliver better school outcomes and more opportunities for our children to be in our schools,” she told the National Catholic Register.
“However, it is also about time we start thinking about what we are going to do about the financial pressures facing schools across Victoria, and how we can work together to provide a better quality of education for our students and families.”
The Victorian Government has said it will continue to work with parents and students to address funding pressures in the coming months.