Baillieu’s cuts to education hitting parent’s hip pocket

The Baillieu Government’s cuts toVictoria’s schools could force principals to pass costs on to parents, as school budgets increasingly cannot cover basics like internet, Shadow Minister for Education James Merlino said today.

Mr Merlino said revelations that schools might be forced to ask parents to contribute financially to pay for internet access was more evidence that Mr Baillieu needed to invest in education.

“The internet is an everyday learning tool and a basic education platform at all levels –why Mr Baillieu thinks he shouldn’t fund this in our public schools is beyond comprehension,” Mr Merlino said.

“Education Minister Martin Dixon says that they are providing internet access, but it isn’t up to scratch and he won’t invest in an upgrade so it can be of any use.

“The Liberals at a state level don’t believe in providing an adequate internet connect to school, at the same time the Federal Liberal party under Tony Abbott are opposing the national broadband network.

“The Liberals are consistently on the wrong side of the debate when it comes to providing better access to technology, and it will be our children that will be paying the price.

“Teachers and principals, however, clearly understand the importance of the internet but in order to provide this basic service they feel they have no choice but to charge parents.

“This will undoubtedly be another cost of living pressure placed on families by the Baillieu Government.”

Mr Merlino said that it was concerning that families might have pay extra for what should be the fundamentals of public education.

“The fact is after cutting $555 million from state education schools are either having to do without, or will have to ask parents to stump up with cash to cover basics,” Mr Merlino said.

“Families are already dealing with a raft of cut programs, like the school start bonus, the conveyance allowance and the education maintenance allowance, which is hurting household budgets.

“Many families, particularly those that are already financially vulnerable, have had to find money for the first time for transport, school uniforms, textbooks, and excursions.  

“Mr Baillieu needs to get the message that his cuts to education have gone too far and parents simply can’t afford to cover the spiralling costs they are creating.”