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Funding differences between public and private schools

20 April 2004, 11:45 AM in Public vs Private Education

Just quickly, there's an article in the Australian today about Mark Harrison's somewhat radical idea of using vouchers to allow parents to choose where their kids go to school, similar to the United States system, rather than to funding going to the government and it directly funding schools. I don't really want to comment on that idea at the moment, as I don't have enough knowledge on the issue. It may have merit, but I also know that the voucher system in the US has it's detractors, and there may be better ways of doing it.

What did draw my attention was this paragraph:

In 2001-02, the latest year for which figures are available, private schools received $4870 in funding from the state and federal governments per student, while government schools received $8937 or 84per cent more.

While I can't exactly verify those numbers, the budget reports put out by the federal and state departments of education seem to support that statement. Public schools receive far more funding than private schools and the public system's funding has been going up, not down. So can we please stop the misleading comments coming from some places about how the federal government funds private schools more. That is true, but the funds from the state governments far out-weigh that. Also, it should be noted that in Australia it is the state, not federal government, who have the responsibility of running and funding schools.



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this artical is a load of boggus private schools get far more than public and that is a well known fact

Posted by: someone | Jul 13, 2004 4:10:41 PM

A campaign against the Federal Government's funding policy for schools has been slammed by Education Minister Brendan Nelson as misleading and blatantly political.

The Australian Education Union is spending a million dollars on an advertising campaign against the Howard Government's funding policy for schools.

It says while state schools cater to around 70 per cent of all children, they only get only 35 per cent of the Federal Government's funding allocation.

But Education Minister Brendan Nelson says overall state schools get nearly $20 billion, while non-government schools get slightly more than $6 billion, and it is not the Federal Government that should be putting more money towards education.

"The problem in terms of the under-resourcing of many of Australia's public schools, lies fairly and squarely at the heart of state and territory governments," he said.

Dr Nelson says the union is also ignoring clear signs more parents want their children educated in private institutions.

"The money follows the children," he said.

"If the children go to a non-government school they attract money from both the Australian and state government, and in addition to that, rather than taking the money away from the state schools, the Australian Government commits to maintaining that money in the state school, so long as its spent on science, maths or ICT [Information and Communication Technologies]."


In Australia we have a robust, fully-funded government schools sector educating about 70% of students. The non-government sector – also robust and not-for-profit – is only partially government-funded, yet is still accountable to government and must meet the nationally agreed goals of schooling.

This arrangement – supported by successive Coalition and Labor governments since the 1970s – successfully harnesses a high level of private contribution for schooling. Currently that contribution stands at around $2.6 billion a year. (In other words, if the one million students now enrolled in non-government schools were to join the two million or so students already in government schools, governments would need to find another $2.6 billion to educate them.)

Parents not all wealthy, schools say
By Shane Green
Education Editor
July 23, 2004

Posted by: G. Fraser | Jul 25, 2004 8:42:47 PM

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Posted by: Neki Jasmine | Jul 31, 2004 1:52:59 PM

This is not a load of bogus you illiterate fool, it's the truth. You are obviously against private schools. Pompous swine like you should read the figures or keep quiet. It's your choice.

Posted by: someone else | Aug 24, 2004 12:12:44 PM

This is not a load of bogus you illiterate fool, it's the truth. You are obviously against private schools. Pompous swine like you should read the figures or keep quiet. It's your choice.

Posted by: someone else | Aug 24, 2004 12:13:39 PM

fuck you. scabby fuckin state schools. rich fuckin private schools.

Posted by: chris omen | Sep 9, 2004 2:47:46 PM

If private schools are SO underfunded and public schools are SO much better off then why do they have indoor pools and about 200 other things that public schools don't have? Some of which include essential services for learning such as decent furniture and building maintenance and decent teachers?
Why? Because the rich have and the poor have not.
In true western democracy the beauty of life is you can say f**k you to those who have less money - isn't it just great?!? I have a BMW, 3 houses and 1 coast house muahwahahaaa - what's that? You haven't had a holiday in 3 years and are broke? Well who gives a sh*t? Muwahaha.
Yep got to love a society where 90% of the wealth belongs to under 20% of the population and the rich always say the same load of crap:
"I worked for my money".
So much for caring and sharing...no wonder there are crimes, rapes, murder and other abhorrent things...I just hope in 30 years time when all these public school children have grown up with such an inferior education thanks to all you ignorant rich folk that they haven't organised mass crime organisations and do anything to your children...

Posted by: Haves-HaveNots | Sep 28, 2004 9:17:21 AM

"fuck you. scabby fuckin state schools. rich fuckin private schools." who ever has said this about private school can take it up with me not all student who go to private schools r rich
u dumb son of a bitch

Posted by: ??????????? | Sep 29, 2004 12:04:37 PM

This article doesn't state facts at all. Private schools receive far more that public or Government schools. One look at the facilities inside the schools should be enough to convince people that Government schools are under funded. Public schools teach the majority of our students compared to private schools, so shouldn't they receive more money?

Posted by: Gemma Ashworth | Oct 5, 2004 1:41:25 PM

Private schools may receive more funds in total (ie, publicly funded plus other sources), and thus the better facilities, but surely the issue here has to be the amount of funds provided by the relevant government bodies. On the figures I've seen, private schools receive less funds per student and so if we really want to make the system "fairer" we need to raise the level of public funding to private schools in relative terms, so as not to penalise those parents who exercise their right to educational choice by opting out of the public system. And NO, I didn't go to private school!!!

Posted by: Matt | Oct 7, 2004 3:49:14 PM

How can anyone say that public schools are not underfunded and that private schools get less money from the government? Statements like "read the figures or keep quiet" are so ridiculous - I'd be interested to know if you have actually looked at the figures and/or stepped foot inside a public school to see for yourself!! Public schools ARE underfunded and to say that they are not is absurd.

Posted by: Sarah | Oct 10, 2004 2:59:22 PM

OH My Goodness do you ignorant, poorly done by uneducated bumbs need to grow up and stop being so bloody jealous. Maybe if some of you got off your asses and went out their and made a decent living, you too could afford to send your children to private schools. I know plenty of students from private schools parents that drive around in old toyota's or ford falcons. Dont assume that just because education is payed for, that all families are rich.

Posted by: GROW UP | Oct 11, 2004 6:03:03 PM

Excuse me??? Ignorant and uneducated?? I had a very good public school education and am currently studying at one of the best universities in the country. I also work and work very hard, so I am hardly jealous! That kind of attitude that alot of private school kids have i.e.- that public school kids are jealous and would desperately want to send their kids to private schools is so insulting. More importantly, I really don't think that's the point of this whole debate.
The point is that the current government gives much more money to private schools than to public schools. Seeing as though almost 70% of Australian students study at public schools, and given that the very nature of private schools was, originally, user pays, don't you think that the current funding model is wrong?

Oh by the way, it's "bums" not "bumbs", and "paid" not "payed".

Posted by: Sarah | Oct 20, 2004 7:21:03 PM

it is true that if all the students from non-government schools decided to attend government schools the government would not be able to afford it. Don't stereotype that all private schools receive more funding from the government. Rather why not define what is a private school? Is a primary school in central Australia with a population of 15 students receiving more funding than an inner city primary school in the middle of Sydney. No.

Posted by: Jenny | Oct 24, 2004 3:38:37 PM

Yes, a private school may have more options, such as a swimming pool or nicer gym, but most of it is received by grants or through tuition funds. Public schools are generally just as "run-down", however, it is not the students' nor the school's fault for being so. The money received from them by the government is used according to what their school board in their district decides. Also, grants are only allowed to be used for certain things, such as $1500 to be used for a new computers when the gym really should be getting a new floor.

Posted by: Sara Turner | Nov 8, 2004 2:29:22 PM

Um, I'm so confused. THe public schools that I went to had indoor pools, a finer performing arts studio than the university that I attend now and over all has a much nicer facility than the University that I am attending now.

Posted by: allison | Nov 18, 2004 9:02:01 AM

this is the funniest shit we've eva read!!! We're doin a debate on this at school and it kinda helped with our boredom... is there any more good reasons why private schools should get more government funding??? We need to win...da debate dat is.

Posted by: Schoolies | Nov 18, 2004 10:52:44 AM

If a group of parents get together via P&C Assoc or just concerned parents who have building contacts and decide to build an IT Centre or even a indoor swimming pool for their kids school, Is this a good thing or something that should be financially penalised by Government, by way of reduced future funding per student? Because, that is what private schools do, parents get together and fund EXTRA resources from their household funds.
What the down side again, Oh, my school has something you don't have, get a life, thats called envy.

Posted by: David | Nov 22, 2004 1:01:38 PM

I really don't think 'envy' is the issue here. I think this debate is really about the fact that the government - both the Commonwealth and State (at least in NSW anyway) - don't give a shit about public schools, and are aiming at gradually eroding the public school sector while at the same time encouraging the growth of private schools. I don't begrudge any parent the right to send their child to the school of their choice, but this right shouldn't come at the expense of a strong public school sector. Doesn't anyone else think the governments ultra conservative, right-wing attitude to public education is scary?

Posted by: Sarah | Dec 30, 2004 5:39:42 PM

Ok let me lay one thing on you. What is sitting in this thing arguing going to do to change the way things are running?
I am 14 years old and go to a public school. Im not poor and dont live on a f*cking street corner so dont think less of me. Judging by some of the things that have been sed you think that people who go to public schools are trash.
We are just a smart and talented as the rest the only difference is they all get betta facilities therefore giving them a chance to really use their talent to the greatest potentional.
What sort of government sees as its prioority giving greater funding to the wealthier schools whilst ignoring the 70% of australian children who attend public schools?
Back in 1996 public school recieved only 42% of funding whilst private recieved 58%. Now in 2004 public is only recieving 34% and privite with 66%.
You can disagree with these figures as much as you want but that isnt going to change the fact.

Private schools have thier indoor swimming pools, latest equiptment, air conditioning in most class rooms and a teacher for every class.
My school doesnt have a swimming pool we have used the same equipment for decades and we are so hot in summer with only one airconditioned class. We have potential but with the fuding we are recieving we have no chance to use it.
You can cridiscise al you want but it will not change my views.

...your sincerely Kara

Posted by: Kara | Jan 5, 2005 11:00:37 AM

that is not true some private schools don't get that much money, my child has to do a fund raiser almsot every singal week to earn money for his school

Posted by: a parent | Jan 20, 2005 11:30:10 PM

Private schools do get more funding than public schools

Posted by: ndj | Feb 14, 2005 12:45:16 PM

What a lot of Rubbish.
Break it down to per child, do your research.
Come back and tell this forum what it costs the TAXPAYER to educate a child per year in each of the two systems.
The taxpayer forks out just under $10,000 per child per year in the Government system.
In the Non-Government School system it is a little over half that amount.
If your not happy with the facilities at your public school, get off your backside and contribute some dollars just like parents do at non-government school.

Education should not be regarded as FREE, it's about time everyone contributed some dollars not just bleet that the Gov should put more in.
PARENTS write the cheques and stop complaining.

Posted by: David | Feb 16, 2005 4:30:03 PM

after reading all these comments, i just want 2 ask what is the point of all this? judging from all the statistics, it is quite clear that private schools seem to get more funding than public school? they are then able to put these funds towards better equipment needed to educate their students, however we have to consider that the parents of these private school children are paying an enormous price for their child's education. according to satistics, public schools are underfunded by the government therefore they are not able to sustain the neccessities for a good education, but contributing to this fact is that the parents of these public school children dont pay as much as the private school parents for their childs education. in the end, isnt is quite clear that it all comes down to how much you get in return for what you can pay for? we live in a society where money matters the most, whether we like it or not, so why do we continue to argue and/or debate over these issues and get over it? this is our society where we can all work together to change, but when we all pass this fact, we have to just live with it.

Posted by: Susan | Apr 2, 2005 5:09:52 PM

I attended a prestigious private school with great facilities although my family was not rich. The little ammount of funding that private schools recieve should not be taken away, for if it is then the cost of going to a private school will increase to the point, that normal families wanting to send their kids there not possiable. You can not be ignorant and say that if public schools facilities increase then a lot more families will choose public over private. That is simply not the case! There will always be a great demand for private schools and if the government funding stops then there will be very few people attending private schools! You need to realise that taking funding from one education institution and giving it to another is not the answer. Focus your attention on all the money that governments waste on other projects.

Posted by: leslie | Apr 12, 2005 5:30:38 PM