Research by an independent policy analyst revealing that the Hodgman Government siphoned $51 million in federal funding from public schools shows a pattern of underfunding Tasmanian public schools, the AEU said today.

Independent policy analyst Martyn Goddard has released research showing that in 2015/2016, $51 million in GST money given for public school funding never made it through the school gate. This was money given to the state government for public education, and was instead diverted elsewhere robbing schools of desperately needed resources.

“This is an appalling misuse of public school funding by the Hodgman Government at a time when teachers are struggling with growing class sizes, a lack of literacy and numeracy specialists and a chronic shortage of professional supports from school psychologists and speech and language therapists,” said AEU Tasmanian President Helen Richardson.

“Fifty-one million dollars is the equivalent of 510 teachers that could be in schools to help students struggling with their reading or writing, to better support kids with disability.

“Selling out our public schools is a pattern of behaviour from Will Hodgman that started with huge education cuts of 2014 and was followed by diverting Gonski through the school gate and culminated in him doing a political deal with Turnbull to axe our Gonski funding altogether and cut by 44% (or $9M) next year funding for kids with disability.

“What kind of premier would sabotage a deal that would have delivered $85 million over two years, the equivalent of about 425 additional teachers and buckle to pressure from Federal Liberal politicians like Eric Abetz?”

“Mr Hodgman is a premier heavy on education spin and glossy brochures while he has been siphoning funds away from our public schools that are tasked with educating the highest needs kids in the country.

“Teachers, support staff and principals in our public schools going above and beyond to deliver quality education but with shrinking time and support and this is not sustainable.

“It’s about time all Tasmanian political parties got serious about quality education and committed to deliver the teachers, support staff and specialists that are needed to manage range of learning, social and emotional problems that students’ present with,” said Ms Richardson.
AEU Tasmanian President Helen Richardson