As a parent about to embark upon the costly business of sending my children to a Catholic secondary college, this news is most welcome: Bi-partisan support for Catholic school funding:
Catholic education in Victoria received an early Christmas present on 9 November when the Labor Government announced that funding for Catholic schools would be increased to 25% of the cost of education in a government school if it wins the state election…
The Coalition pledged in 2008 to increase funding to Catholic schools to 25% of the cost of education in a government school if it is elected to government on 27 November.
The almost $200 million funding boost, also includes an additional $5m for teacher professional development
In welcoming the decision, Mr Elder said Labor’s commitment would particularly benefit Catholic families in disadvantaged areas.
…[CEO chief executive officer Mr Stephen Elder said:] “Catholic schools continue to serve families in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the state. I have no doubt the decision will be widely welcomed by Catholic school communities.”
…“The personal story of Australia’s first saint – St Mary of the Cross – is a powerful illustration of Catholic education’s mission to serve the most disadvantaged in our community. The announcement will provide funding to Catholic education to continue this legacy,” said Mr Elder.
School fees have been rising steadily, mostly due to a lack of Government funding. My own daughter’s fees for next year have risen about %10 from what we were told when we first enrolled her last year. Sending both my daughters to Catholic secondary college will cost me about 20% of my annual income.
If you do the sums you realise that parents who send their children to Catholic Schools are in fact (even under this new funding) saving the government 75% of what it would cost to educate their children in State Schools. I think we need some recognition of that.
All that being said, we are a long way from the days of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. One reason why Catholic schools are costly for parents today (although no where near the cost of other independant schools) is that we no longer have the “cheap labour” force that once supplied teachers for our systems, ie. religious sisters and brothers. What a boost it would be for the Catholic School system if St Mary’s vision were to become truly alive again today!