Parental income tax could determine school funding

The overhaul would deliver a win for the Catholic sector (Bigstock)

Commonwealth payments to non-government schools would be determined by the income tax paid by parents at that school under a new funding model to be recommended to the Turnbull Government. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

The National School Resourcing Board will recommend using powerful data-matching tools to link parents’ tax returns with their children’s school enrolment, according to sources familiar with briefings delivered to school sectors yesterday.

The shake-up would have flow-on effects on the fees paid by parents at non-government schools.

The overhaul would deliver a win for the Catholic sector, which believes the status quo is unfair, and potentially patch the fractious relationship it has had with Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

Currently, a school’s socio-economic status score is based on the income, education and occupation characteristics of the areas where students live. Higher scores mean reduced government funding.

Catholic schools argue they are disadvantaged because parents in wealthier neighbourhoods who send their children to more affordable Catholic schools are counted as rich under the SES model.

The review, led by businessman Michael Chaney, is due to be handed to Senator Birmingham this month – but Catholic and independent schools were briefed on the draft report yesterday.

In a sign of the extreme sensitivity surrounding the discussions, attendees were forced to sign confidentiality deeds binding them to keep the briefings secret - even from their own colleagues.

However, sources told Fairfax Media the panel had opted to use parental income tax returns as the basis of a revised SES model.

Attendees at Wednesday’s briefings were told figures previously reported by the media about how much extra funding would flow to Catholic schools at the expense of independents were incorrect.

Those reports stated Catholic schools could gain an extra $1.8 billion over 10 years, while independent schools could lose up to $2bn. The SES does not affect public schools.

It is understood the new system – if adopted by the Turnbull Government – is unlikely to be in place before 2020.

Senator Birmingham would not confirm the contents of the Chaney report.

FULL STORY

Parents’ income tax could decide private school funding (Sydney Morning Herald

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