Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Letter from Lolly Jar Thief Number 1

Date: 28 August 2007
Mr Colin Campbell
Dear Mr Campbell
Thank you for your e-mail dated 17 August 2007 regarding funding for the public education
The State Government recognises that education is the key to young South Australians
gaining the skills, values and attributes they need to contribute to our community in the 21
The 2006-07 Budget introduced a range of savings measures across all portfolios of
government. These savings measures were introduced to provide additional spending
capacity for high priority areas including education. Recent commitments by the Government
that have demonstrated this include:
Brand new schools as part of a $216 million Education Works investment in better school
buildings and learning environments;
Investment of $28.8 million to develop an additional 10 ‘one stop’ children’s centres
bringing the total number of these centres to 20;
Support of $29.5 million for the provision of 10 new trade schools to foster practical work
As part of the ‘school to work’ strategy, $54.5 million to implement a new senior
secondary ‘SACE’ qualification; and
Increased investment in literacy and numeracy, and smaller class sizes in the early
The 2007-08 Budget continues our commitment to the education system with increased
spending on education and children’s services of $127.2 million compared to the 2006-07
Budget. The 2007-08 Budget provides, on average, an additional $708 for every government
school student when compared to the previous year, an increase of 6.7%. Since 2001-02,
spending on each student has increase by $3,606. In this context, the savings measures
represent a relatively small rearrangement of funding within a context of very large increases
in spending per student.
I thank you for your interest in our public schools and children’s services.
Yours sincerely
Kevin Foley MP

Friday, 17 August 2007

Oh Dear

EDUCATION Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has been attacked by members of her own party over school funding cuts.

In an embarrassing event for Dr Lomax-Smith, her own party sub-branch passed a motion calling for the Government to "reverse the financial impositions to already struggling public schools".

One senior Labor source raised concerns, believing she should have been able to "sell" the policy to her closest party members.

"It is unprecedented but I don't find it surprising that Jane couldn't even convince her own sub-branch . . ." one long-term delegate said.

The motion criticised the Government's decision to cut small school programs, prevent schools from keeping interest payments on unspent funds, and for shifting the responsibility for WorkCover.

In June, the Government reneged on a decision to impose a 1 per cent levy on schools to help pay for a workers' compensation scheme following public pressure.

Public schools, however, still face cuts of $36 million over the next four years to meet efficiency dividends.

Labor sources said Dr Lomax-Smith attended the State Council meeting last Thursday, but left before the motion was debated.

It is understood Attorney-General Michael Atkinson had to defend the Government before the motion was defeated.

"She left it up to another senior minister to do her dirty work," a Labor source said.

In an emailed statement Dr Lomax-Smith yesterday said: "Plans for our reinvestment strategy . . . have been successfully resolved with the union and principal groups, with the union saying it's 'delighted' with the outcome".

Blah Blah Blah a Deer ..... More Happy News from the Department of Education and Music Services Politpburo

Note: This policy was developed without any input from Angry Parents and without respect to sensible public policy.

Press Release: Stop Press Stop Music Stop Everything

News: Trials before major changes to music service in schools

Minister for Education & Children's Services
Minister for Tourism
Minister for the City of Adelaide
Contact details

August 14, 2007

Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has requested that the Education Department sit down with music groups to find common ground on measures to improve music education for South Australian school children.

Dr Lomax-Smith confirmed the department would not implement major changes to the delivery of South Australia’s $7.5 million instrumental music education program before trials of the proposed measures are completed next year.

The Minister welcomed a reported call in today’s Advertiser by the Music Council of Australia that changes should be trialled before modifying the existing instrumental music program. The government announced in June that proposed changes would first be trialled.

“A collaborative approach to working with music teachers and schools to trial these new approaches is exactly what we want to see happen,” Dr Lomax-Smith says.

The Minister today announced funding would be made available to support schools which volunteered to test elements of the proposed new measures.

The funds will mean:

Up to 20 primary and secondary schools to trial new approaches in Year 5 whole class instrumental teaching and group tuition of Year 6 to 10 students
Research into creating better opportunities to involve children in Reception to Year 4 in music education
Maintenance of the existing instrumental music program while the trials are carried out, with any new measures being gradually introduced over five year
An advisory group of music educators and departmental experts overseeing the trials and working with music education groups on improving the overall program

“Ensuring skilled young people achieve excellence in music, while more children also have the opportunity to discover music, is clearly what communities want.

“The instrumental music program has served many children well over 30 years, but clearly we can do better.

“Indeed, the proposals are in line with a National Review of School Music which showed that ‘music education in Australian schools is at a critical point where prompt action is needed to right the inequalities in school music’.

“I have asked the department to involve music education groups in a collaborative approach to working out how best we can achieve the shared aims of equity and excellence.”

Revamping the music education program was proposed by an independent review, to open the door to thousands more children learning instrumental music, while also enabling skilled students to excel through specialist music support at the State’s four Special Music Schools.

“As a government, we want to ensure there is a fairer access to music education for young people in our schools.

“At the same time, if more young people have access to instrumental music, it broadens the pool of talented young people who may choose to go on to excel in a particular field of music.

“However, there are clearly differing views, with some teachers opposed to any changes that may be proposed in this and the national agenda.

“We want schools to try out the new approaches. By working together, a common sense way forward can be found that ensures the program continues to foster excellence in instrumental music, while also ensuring greater equity of access for children.”

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

More Sneaky Education Cuts

From Adelaide Now

Parents will have to pay thousands of dollars extra a year for private music lessons, under Education Department changes.

No individual instrumental music lessons will be offered at state high schools once the overhaul is complete, effectively privatising the system, Australian Education Union state branch president Andrew Gohl says. "My concern is parents are going to be forced under this model to pay for private provision," he said.

The Education Department announced in June that its music and aquatics programs - both subject to a review - would continue, but instrumental music would have a new focus on primary school students.

Teachers will be shifted out of high schools over the next five years.

Music teachers say successful completion of Year 11 and 12 music subjects is not possible without individual tuition.

About 9000 students are using the Education Department's instrumental music service this year, with the changes expected to eventually expand that number to 28,000, all at Year 5 level. "A number of kids won't be able to afford private tuition and won't be able to do secondary music any more," said one high school arts co-ordinator.

Mr Gohl said the new model was borrowed from the United Kingdom, where "significant additional funding" was put into music. "That's not happening in SA - it's on a budget-neutral basis," he said.

Parent Gay Lee said she would not be able to afford tuition for her four children - John, 16, Simon, 12, Bethany, 10, and Sarah, 7.

"It's usually about $25 per half-hour lesson and at 10 weeks per term, you are looking at $1000 a year per child," Mrs Lee said. An Education Department spokeswoman said students already learning an instrument at high school could continue. Specialist music schools at Woodville, Brighton, Marryatville and Fremont-Elizabeth will still accept students by audition. Up to 70 scholarships will be available for country students to continue lessons at high school.

Readin' 'ritin' and 'rithmetic focus to keep schools 'float

Backdoor justification for State Labors Cuts

English, maths, science and history would be defined as the cornerstones of primary education under a schools charter drawn up by principals.

The Australian Primary Principals Association has put forward the charter that would outline primary schools' precise role, amid concern their curriculum has become too cluttered.

The association covers public and private schools across the country.

The charter was developed at a forum in Sydney last month.

The association's president Leonie Trimper said principals felt it was essential to simplify the curriculum by making English, maths, science and history "critical and essential elements" to be taught by primary schools.

Teaching these key subjects would allow children to best develop skills including learning, thinking, communication, self-management and use of technology.

However, these needed to be balanced so children also had the opportunity to take part in music, physical education and other activities.

"These experiences, while not seen as core areas, were viewed by the forum's delegates as having great value in introducing children to many other important areas of life," Ms Trimper said.

"The draft charter suggests programs and interventions, such as bike safety and financial literacy, should only be taught if they don't detract from a school's core business.

"If we are to give our children a proper education foundation in life, the accent must be on core areas that are vital to learning."

The charter defines the purpose of primary school as "ensuring that all children learn, and that they gain a permanent love of learning".

The document will be circulated to schools and parents for comment before being submitted to federal and state governments.

The reality is that this will be about all the schools will be able to cover with their reduced budgets from Cutmeiseter in Chief Kevin The Chop Foley.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Liberal Statement on WorkCover

Rann School tax undermines public education
Another first for South Australia and the Rann Government – a school tax!
The Rann Government is proposing to tax all public childcare centres, kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools to recover part of the government’s workers compensation costs. This tax will ‘save’ the Rann government, and cost our schools around $17 million over 4 years.
The Rann School Tax will be levied at 1 percent of total salaries at each site.
Schools say this tax, combined with other Rann Government cuts to education, will cost annually over $100,000 for secondary schools, around $50,000 for primary schools and $4000 for kindergartens.
Secondary schools with discretionary budgets of $400,000 are getting cuts of over $100,000 per year - some, over $200,000 per year.
Primary schools with discretionary budgets of $70,000 suffer cuts of around $50,000 per year.
How are schools meant to cope with such cuts?
One option is to charge higher school fees. To recover the amount of the cuts in fees, families are looking at $100 per student more each year. Higher fees do nothing for many families who can’t afford the fees at the current level.
If fees are not increased schools say it means less equipment replaced, less books replaced, cuts to curriculum, no new computers, less professional development for teachers and more parent fundraising.
But under Minister ‘School Tax’ Smith, parent fundraising is under attack. The Rann Government is now considering taking back interest earned by schools on bank accounts. In many cases this is money raised by parents through their own fundraising efforts to fund improvements for their local school and now the government is raiding schools’ bank accounts to top up its own funds.
At the same time that the Rann Government is looting schools’ bank accounts, it is asking parents and schools to pay out even more money to cover costs usually borne by the government.
Aren’t parents lucky? They can now fundraise to help pay a tax on schools.
By taxing schools it will discourage parents from fundraising which will have two effects. It means less fundraising will be done and schools’ facilities will suffer as a result. It also means that school spirit will suffer because there may be less involvement from parents in the school community. Both are bad news for the quality of education delivered in South Australia.

The Rann School Tax comes on top of:
• Cancelling of the Be Active – Let’s Go program
• Proposed cuts to music and aquatic programs
• Cuts to the $30,000 Small Schools Grants
• First Aid training is now a school cost
It gets worse – schools may now have to pay for the first four weeks for staff who replace injured staff. The extra cost - $6500 per injured worker. Schools that budget for two injuries a year will have to find another $13,000 out of school funds (parent’s funds). Some schools are budgeting $10,000 extra per term – another $40,000 extra cost annually on top of the tax.
The Rann Government can try and convince the public that it is committed to public education but its priorities are anything but funding the system properly. The Rann Government has spent $20 million on establishing a foreign university here in Adelaide and around $24 million on extra spin doctors and staffers. At the same time it’s asking parents to put their hands into their pockets and pay even more for basic education at our schools.
This direct attack on schools through the introduction of a tax and other cost cutting measures undermines public education in South Australia.
Schools are being asked to do more with less and yet deliver a quality education system.
I urge parents to contact their schools – ask about the impact of the tax and cuts on their school and their budget.
Welcome to Labor’s Education Revolution.

Earlier Liberal Position on WorkCover

Liberals will drop Rann’s School Tax

A Liberal Government will drop the outrageous Rann School Tax, Shadow Minister for Education and Children Services, Iain Evans said today. The policy will be reversed.

“The Rann School Tax will hurt schools, hurt teachers, hurt parents and hurt students,” Mr Evans said.

“The tax is designed to save the Government around $17 million over four years, by taxing schools a one per cent Work Cover levy on salaries. This is effectively a cut to school funding.

“Secondary Schools face cuts of around $100 000 per year. Some face cuts of up to $200 000 per year. Primary Schools face cuts of around $50 000 per year.

“As a result of this tax and other cost changes to schools, parents face increased school fees of around $100 per year, per child – a huge cost on families.

“A Liberal Government will remove this unfair tax that targets the classroom and will cause families much hardship.

“Minister ‘School Tax’ Smith has targeted the classroom in trying to claw back around $17 million over four years.

“A Liberal Government will remove Labor’s attack on the classroom.

“The fact that Minister ‘School Tax’ Smith conjured up, promoted and supports this tax on schools, shows how out of touch she is with schools.

“A Liberal Government will drop the tax.”