State school funding shortfall pushing parents to pay

1 March 2021

Dr Anna Hogan spoke to the Herald Sun about the disparity between public and private funding in state schools.

Government funding for state schools varies by as much as $13,000 per student in a single year, depending on where the school is located, a study has found.

More disadvantaged schools are getting $22,000 per student, compared with $9920 in more wealthy areas.

To make up the shortfall, some parents at state schools are being forced to reach into their own wallets, with annual average payments of more than $2800 a year.

Parents in some state schools are paying upwards of $2200 a year more towards school fees than parents in more disadvantaged state schools.

In some cases, this “may be partly attributed to the income received from the enrolment of full fee-paying international students”, co-author Anna Hogan, from The University of Queensland, said.

But even schools with lower levels of international students, such as Lilydale High, charge nearly $1000 in fees on average, the My School website data shows.

Dr Hogan said the disparity between public and private funding in state schools “has the potential, if it has not already, to produce a two-tiered public education system based on parental capacity and inclination to pay school fees”.

“There are no ‘free at the point of provision’ school systems in Australia,” Dr Hogan said.

“In government schools there is a substantial amount of private funding being generated through school fees, fundraising and philanthropy.”

Read the full Herald Sun article