Editorial: Funding welcome
In those days, Catholics schools were established and maintained by parishes and religious congregations, and funded by Catholic parents, citizens who had already paid taxes for public education.
Times have certainly changed since then – and for the better.
Governments over the years have come to realise the significant role Catholic education plays in Australian society, and that parents have a right to determine what type of education will shape the upbringing of their children.
And governments now recognise that parents are entitled to this right by virtue of the taxes they pay.
The latest announcement about Federal Government funding for Catholic systemic schools is welcome.
Under the new model Catholic schools will receive $362 million more from next year than they would have under the present scheme.
The new funding model, using the socio-economic status guidelines, also makes funding more equitable and in line with Catholic social teaching which obligates Catholic agencies to pay particular attention to the poor and disadvantaged.
It means that schools that serve the neediest communities attract the most money.
Cardinal Pell points out that the socio-economic model fits in well with the Church’s concern to make education available to all Catholics, and especially those on low incomes.
Critics should be aware, too, that – despite the latest package – funding inequities between public and Catholic systemic schools still exist. At present State and Federal governments contribute $7832 a year per student to government schools and $5506 per student to Catholic schools.
They should remember, too, that Catholic parents are still the mainstay of our Catholic schools system.