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While university jobs disappeared, Jobkeeper provided a windfall to wealthy private schools

Jobkeeper has proved to be a gravy train for wealthy private schools serving the most advantaged families in Victoria.

New financial statements posted on the Charities Commission website before Christmas reveal the shameless greed of some of the wealthiest most exclusive private schools in Victoria. Twenty-one schools received $90 million in Jobkeeper payments while making profits of $97 million. Most of them serve highly advantaged families.

One of Victoria’s most exclusive girls’ school, Methodist Ladies College (MLC), got $10.4 million from Jobkeeper and made a profit of $15 million in 2020. It increased its profit over the previous year by $7.8 million with the help of Jobkeeper.

MLC charges $34,000 fees for Years 11 and 12. Eighty per cent of its students are from the highest socio-educationally advantaged (SEA) quartile and 96 per cent come from the top two quartiles. It received nearly $10 million in recurrent government funding and has assets totalling $163 million.

A total of 60 Victorian private schools received $222 million from Jobkeeper and made $193 million in profits in 2020. Apart from five schools, all made a profit out of Jobkeeper and 52 increased their profits from 2019. The total increase in profits was $99 million. These schools also received $483 million in recurrent government funding in 2020.

Most of these schools serve privileged families. Between 60 and 80 per cent of their students are from the top SEA quartile and around 90 per cent or more are from the top two SEA quartiles. Several schools such as MLC, Lauriston and Strathcona provided fee remissions, rebates and discounts to their families.

As the Herald-Sun’s Susie O’Brien reported, several schools have repeatedly refused the divulge their payments (Herald-Sun. 30 December 2021). They have obscured their payments by including them with other government grants or other income. For example, Christ Church Grammar in Toorak received an increase in Commonwealth Government grants of nearly 200 per cent in 2020 but did not reveal its Jobkeeper payment.

The greed of these highly privileged schools is obscene. They grasp any opportunity to get their snouts in the taxpayer trough. Yet, they see themselves as having superior moral values that are central to their elitist culture. If they had any common decency, they would give the money back as some firms have done.

Jobkeeper was just another opportunity for the Morrison Government to provide even more special funding for private schools. It is icing on the cake of a huge funding boost for private schools through a highly flawed method of determining their financial need and by special funding deals not based on need such as the $1.2 billion Choice and Accountability Fund.

Government (Commonwealth and state) funding for private schools increased by four times that of public schools between 2009 and 2019. Government funding for Catholic and Independent schools increased by $2,050 and $2,006 per student respectively adjusted for inflation compared to only $514 per student for public schools.

The total resources of Victorian private schools far exceed those of public schools. The total income of Independent schools was $25,944 per student in 2019 and that of Catholic schools was $17,123 compared to $14,416 in public schools. Wealthy private schools seized on Jobkeeper with the connivance of the Commonwealth Government to extend their massive resource advantage.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, has conceded that Catholic schools have “never had it so good” in terms of funding. The same can be said of Independent private schools.

The resource advantage of private schools is set to continue for the rest of the decade under the terms of the Commonwealth-State bilateral funding agreements. Private schools will be funded at over 100 per cent of their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) while public schools will be funded at less than 91 per cent of their SRS in all states except the ACT. As a result, public schools will remain massively under-funded. It points to the need for a comprehensive overhaul of school funding.

The above is an excerpt from an SOS article by Trevor Cobbold 3/1/2022

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13 comments

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  1. RomeoCharlie29

    This is just another example of the pernicious influence of religion in politics. The ruling classes, predominantly the product of the private school system, have a vested interest in attains power: ensuring the gravy train continues for the non-government education sector while ensuring the public system is starved of funds to the point where it can’t offer the same amenities to its users. Labor, unfortunately, won’t be much better, beholden as so many of its members are to the Catholic Church or, to a lesser extent, private schools. It was the sainted Gough who started the trickle of government funds to private schools, a trickle which has become a flood as this article shows. No political party has the guts to do what is really needed and make the non-government sector pay for itself. What continues to amaze me is that a significant majority of Australia’s students are educated in government schools,which should mean a majority of parents would vote for governments which would advance their children’s educational interest yet we keep seeing governments like the execrable Morrison outfit elected. Wake up Australians and demand a restoration of public education’s rightful place of leadership. That means getting rid of this rotten, corrupt government first, then putting pressure on Labor to undo the imbalances of recent decades.

  2. Kaye Lee

    This article made me choke….

    Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher has called for an examination of what state schools were getting right and the humility to learn from them because they regularly perform better in academic results.

    He said the Catholic school system had “never had it so good” in terms of funding, and should focus on using the resources well.

    “Parts of the state educational bureaucracy, teachers unions and media remain unremittingly hostile to Catholic education,” he said, adding that he was shocked by the resurgence of anti-Catholicism in the past few decades.

    However, the $4.6 billion pledged to Catholic and independent schools by Scott Morrison in one of his first acts as prime minister in 2018 after a bitter funding debate meant the system had more government support than ever.

    Archbishop Fisher said he was concerned about the erosion of Catholic DNA within Catholic schools, saying many religious education teachers no longer practised the religion and were unfamiliar with the doctrine and morals they were supposed to teach.

    “An increasing proportion of those enrolled in our schools are not even nominally Catholic or Christian … the disconnection from church is glaringly obvious when children or families find themselves in unfamiliar territory at mass, unsure of how to comport themselves, respond, even recite the most treasured Catholic prayers,” he said.

    Schools should respond by more deliberately teaching the Catholic faith, to counteract outside forces. “We have to keep preparing our teachers to be counter-cultural,” he said. “They’ve got to think of themselves like missionaries in the classroom.”

    When asked about anti-Catholic sentiment, Archbishop Fisher said he remembered being worried government school kids would spit on him and call names when he was a child in the 1960s. “It was more like Belfast in Sydney back then,” he said.

    “I thought it was all in the past, it was all gone, and it has shocked me to see anti-Catholicism come back … it’s very real. Catholics don’t have two heads, they actually love you. We are doing good things for you, for the world.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/education/never-had-it-so-good-archbishop-says-cashed-up-catholic-schools-must-learn-from-state-schools-20210527-p57vsa.html

  3. Andrew J. Smith

    Without waffling, this is not policy but imported radical right libertarian ideology, tactics from the US GOP and ‘architecture’ underpinned by the need to nobble (climate) science, higher level learning skills e.g. analysis etc. while attacking anything ‘liberal’ e.g. gender, LGBT, history, etc.; we want conservative believers not empowered liberal citizens.

    Conversely, in same ecosystem, platforming religion, especially Christianity, conditioning youth to follow the same, but indirectly is the need to have voters follow their beliefs and gut instincts to then form conservative voter coalitions aka USA, behind which unpalatable libertarian policies can be enacted.

  4. Phil Pryor

    Those blucking fudgers will always take the money, for the blessed, saved, anointed, chosen and conservative bumbuddies, but the actual people out there as citizens, voters, plain people, are robbed, again, and betrayed by filthy fornicatoro fraudy fist fondling foulbrained fantasising fellatio fondling friends of the P M, the Perverted Moron, Pustular Misfit, Poxed Maggot. Get Rucking Fid of them…

  5. New England Cocky

    @ Kaye Lee: The Australian Catholic parochial ”school system” is the most expensive third rate child care facility in the world designed to produce low skilled unthinking graduates who will do as the priests demand, while funnelling huge government payments to the Vatican. Then there is the ”advantage” of easy access to a pool of victims for pederast priests & their lay mates.

  6. corvusboreus

    It was surprising to read (in a comment on another thread) that, in ‘Catholic circles’ the practice of ‘confession’ is now being called ‘reconciliation’.
    There was no mention of any palpable reform of confessional process to accompany this ‘reconciliatory’ rebranding, but let’s run with it.

    Currently in Australia, the word ‘reconciliation’ tends to evoke connotations of Indigenous affairs, and attempts to harmonise the legacies of colonial immigration with those of traditional custodianship.

    Accepting the renomenclature of Catholic confession as ‘reconciliation’ and applying their template model (closed arbitration with plaintiff excluded) to Indigenous affairs is an interesting exercise.

  7. corvusboreus

    Ammendum,
    I was incorrect in referring to the confessional template for reconciliation as ‘arbitration’.

    Arbitration is adjudication initiated at the mutual agreement of both concerned parties.

    As currently stands, confessional ‘reconciliation’ can only be instigated by the alleged perpetrator.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Anthony Fisher also has a strong view about maintaining the Seal of Confession.

    “I believe the spiritual encounter between a penitent and God must remain inviolable and that Catholic priests and penitents should not be threatened with a criminal offence for practising their religion.”

    “The proposal to abolish the confessional seal will help no child,” Archbishop Fisher said. “Australia has always recognised the freedom of the Christian Churches and other serious faiths to practise their sacraments and other rituals unimpeded. I believe we should continue to give people of faith that space. We should not interfere with a practice core to the religious beliefs of so many Australians.”

    Personally, I think “penitents” should approach God direct through prayer – cut out the middleman.

    “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

    If you do wrong, then repent, change your ways, and let God weigh it up in the end. Only you and God can know if you really did repent.

    Absolution cannot be granted by men.

  9. Mark Shields

    It doesn’t take much brainpower to realise that most private schools are religious entities, existing on tax-free thresholds: It also doesn’t take much intelligence to recognise that our current Pentecostal government will do anything to fund anyone that supports the filthy Seven Mountain Mandate principle of Christian “Dominionism”. Sounds creepy, looks devious but who would really know that right-wing cultist F-Tards are running the country?!

  10. Kaye Lee

    So they have given Phil Gaetjens (and his state counterparts) a week to come up with a plan to get all kids back to school and keep them there.

    This should be good.

    What is Phil going to do if half the teachers ring in sick one morning? Does he think the few teachers there can put a thousand kids in the hall and look after them all day? Does he think the kids will sit quietly in a room reading if no teacher turns up? Does he expect teachers to take classes of 100? Does he think just anyone can teach?

    You can’t have kids at school if there are insufficient teachers well enough to work. I wonder what Phil’s experience is in staffing a school.

  11. John Lord

    So they have given Phil Gaetjens (and his state counterparts) a week to come up with a plan to get all kids back to school and keep them there.

    This should be good. Or yet another stuff up.

  12. GL

    Why is Jackboots Gaetjens in charge of something that should fall under the purview of the education ministry. Surely there are more capable people to look after the situation than Scummo’s thug mate and bovver boy Phil.

  13. corvusboreus

    If I sought a set of preordained conclusions on a particular subject, I would put appoint a Myrmidon (who knew little and cared less) to lead.

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