By Michelle Herbison
TORQUAY’S Catholic school could cut teacher numbers or increase class sizes as last-resort responses to potential funding cuts, its principal has told the Independent.
Pauline Audley was responding to reports this week of “leaked” information that Federal Government’s Gonski review could reduce funding to St Therese Catholic School by $183,000.
The Government has yet to announce its response to the review, released last year.
Ms Audley said losing $183,000 in funding would be “very bad”.
The school would be forced to “look creatively” at absorbing any decrease in funding but cutting teachers or increasing class sizes would be last resorts, she said.
“We have global budgeting that allows us to look at budgets very independently of other schools. We would not look at salaries because we believe teacher quality is very important.
“Something we had planned to do over 12 months might take over two or three years to invest but the direct impacts on children would be minimised as much as possible.”
Ms Audrey said St Therese had 430 students and growing as the town boomed.
The school provided about 35 jobs including part-time and administration staff.
Federal Liberal candidate for Corangamite Sarah Henderson said a third of Australian schools would lose funding, according to the leaked list.
“Parents will pay more or class sizes will rise as funding is cut to over 3200 government, catholic and independent schools across Australia,” she said.
“Labor has been trumpeting the Gonski review and its call for $5 billion in extra funding despite the fact the Government does not have an additional $5 billion a year to spend on schools.”
Ms Henderson said the coalition’s policy was to increase funding by six per cent annually.
Labor Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman called the leaked figures “absolute nonsense”.
“They don’t reflect what the Government will be doing. No school will lose money.
“We will see additional money flowing into our schools whether they be public, Catholic or independent.”
Mr Cheeseman said the Government would announce its response to the review “in the coming weeks”.
“Labor believes in providing quality education to all students no matter what schools families send their kids to. We want to make sure teachers, no matter what school they teach at, have the necessary resources to do their jobs.
By Michelle Herbison