Gonski cuts ‘threaten Wyndham kids in need’

Joanne Ryan. Picture: Damjan Janevski.

Millions of dollars will be ripped out of Wyndham schools if the federal government does not commit to funding the final two years of the Gonski agreement, an analysis by the state’s Education Department reveals.

The agreement between the state and federal governments addresses disadvantage in classrooms by employing additional specialist teachers, providing greater assistance to special-needs students, reducing class sizes and providing increased training for teachers.

Manor Lakes P-12 College would be the worst off in Wyndham if the agreement is not extended, the analysis found. It faces a maximum loss of $2.5 million in the two-year period (2018 and 2019).

Tarneit’s Grange P-12 College would see up to $2.3 million slashed and Warringa Park up to $2.1 million, while the Western Autistic School would miss out on up to $1.7 million.

Thirty other schools in Wyndham are facing massive cuts.

Federal Lalor MP Joanne Ryan, a former school teacher and principal, has joined the state government to call on the federal government to continue the funding.

“Our community is a growth corridor in Melbourne’s west and full of young families who are now set to lose from the brutal cuts,” she said. “The needs-based funding is about providing equity. I’ve seen the huge difference proper funding and support can make to children at a grassroots level.”

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced Labor’s commitment to funding the agreement in January while visiting Wyndham Vale’s Iramoo Primary School with Ms Ryan.

The state government has met its obligations under the agreement by providing funding through to 2017. Any funding decisions beyond then will be based on the findings of a review led by former premier Steve Bracks.

State Werribee MP and Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said: “Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘ideas boom’ will go completely bust if he keeps cutting funds from our schools, our kids and our future.”