Cuts to school funding

What they promised

'[The Liberals will] invest in our children, provide them with a public school system that delivers the highest standard of education; superbly built and designed schools that enhance learning; and early intervention for children...'

- The Liberals’ Education Policy, p3

What they say now

500 jobs abolished, 30% cut from SSPRA funding, levy for each staff member, cuts to procurement budget, individual school capital works not funded.


04 Sep 2013 - The Barnett Government has announced cuts to school funding that will result in every school in Western Australia being worse off.

The cuts to school funding that were revealed following an announcement by the Minster Peter Collier on 20 August 2013 have left every school in WA with a budget black hole.  Primary Schools stand to lose up to $285, 000 each and high schools stand to lose up to $700, 000 each. 

In a recent letter to parents from the Minister for Education, Peter Collier, he described the cuts as part of an ongoing reform in education and a necessary step to the introduction of a new funding model. 

However contrary to the Minister’s assertions, the cuts and the new model are two separate things.

The cuts will occur in 2014, a year before the new funding model is implemented and will have an immediate impact on the capacity for schools to deliver a quality education to WA students. 

The architect of the school funding model, Professor Richard Teese, has raised concerns that schools would struggle to introduce the planned reforms if jobs and resources were slashed at the same time as the new model was introduced. 

Professor Teese yesterday questioned whether schools would be able to switch to new funding model if resources were cut.  “The questions I’ve got is whether introducing these savings measures at the same time as bringing in a substantial change in the funding formula is a good idea,” he said. -  West Australian 28 August 2013 p19

The specifics of the cuts are detailed in the attached document but include job cuts which include teacher positions, programs to support literacy and numeracy and children with special needs and money for schools to buy supplies.  ‘Summary of Barnett’s savage cuts to public education’

In addition to this each school will be required to pay a levy for each staff member to cover the government’s liability for long service leave. The levy is $600 per teacher and $400 per other staff member per year.

The Premier Colin Barnett has indicated that schools should use their cash reserves to fund any shortfalls. - Weekend West 31 August 2013 p36

In most instances the cash reverses are earmarked for capital works and the replacement of equipment such as school buses, computers and equipment in teaching environments such as science labs.  It is a requirement of the Education Department that schools maintain these reserves. - Extract Education Department Financial Management Manual

Unlike the Gonski funding reforms to education by the Federal Government there isn’t a commitment from the Barnett Government that no school will be worse off under the new funding model.  In fact every school will be worse off as a result of these cuts.  

Update: Following the original announcement of cuts to schools, detailed information provide to Parliament revealed that schools would lose $158 million.  Education and Health Standing Committee and Legislative Council C828

In the 2013-14 Mid-year review, a further $25 million was cut from the education budget. P113 2013-14 Government Mid-year Financial Projections Statement (MYR)


The total cuts to school are in the order of $183 million in 2014.