As Queensland kids head back to school for Term 3, the Greens have announced a plan to scrap all state school fees by fully funding public education, after analysis reveals Queensland state schools are the most underfunded in the country.
The Greens would increase the Queensland Government’s share of public education funding from 69.26% to 80% of the minimum standard, ensuring an extra $5 billion over the next four years for Queensland state schools, plus an extra $2 billion to cover the cost of textbooks, laptops and excursions.
Under the current funding agreements, Queensland state schools are the most underfunded in the country -the State government contributes just 69.26% of the needs based Schooling Resourcing Standard, leaving a massive funding shortfall of over $1 billion a year or $9253 per student.
This comes after a recent report found that over the last 10 years of Labor and LNP Government, state funding per public school student has decreased by $128 while funding for private and catholic schools has increased by $220 and $246 per student respectively.
A Greens survey of Queensland State School parents has had over 400 responses, with 90% indicating that they have to pay state schools fees and some reporting they pay over $2000 a year.
“It's a fundamental principle of Australian society that the circumstances of your birth shouldn’t determine your chances in life, and it’s time our state school education system reflected that,” said Greens MP Michael Berkman.
“While the State Government has fully funded private schools, they’ve outsourced the cost of public education to parents and teachers through fees and extra costs because they don’t want to raise taxes on big corporations.
“School fees, excursions, textbooks, laptops, stationery... these costs add up, and put massive financial stress on Queensland families.
“Last year Queensland families paid $89 million in state school school fees, with many parents paying over $2000 a year, while many teachers have to use their own money to purchase essential resources.
“With the COVID-19 lockdown many parents couldn’t afford the extra internet and technology costs that came with homeschooling, so thousands of kids missed out - that’s frankly unacceptable in a wealthy state like ours.
“The Greens believe primary and secondary education is an essential service that should be fully funded and genuinely free, paid for not by ordinary families, but by taxes on big corporations.”