With just six weeks until voters go to the polls, NSW Labor is splashing the cash with a $5000 annual funding pledge for parent and community groups at public schools if it wins the state election.
Shadow Minister for Education David Harris and Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison made the pledge at Morpeth Public School on Wednesday.
The school’s P&C president Ben Emmett said the injection would provide crucial funds for the local school community.
“It’s that initial outlay and, unless you’ve got a generous parent who’s able to loan or donate something to the school, you’re scratching around looking for funding to be able to get a project off the ground,” he said.
It [$5000] is a hell of a lot of sausage sandwiches, and that is genuinely how schools raise their money.Ben Emmett
“It [$5000] is a hell of a lot of sausage sandwiches, and that is genuinely how schools raise their money.”
The cash boost will include every public school parent and community group in the state, to help provide some immediate financial relief for school budgets.
It will go to the P&C Associations of all of the state’s 2200-plus public schools and must be spent on additional resources for children such as science equipment, library books, playground equipment, sports uniforms or teaching aids.
“We understand the link between the community and school. All the research shows us when you have parents participating in their kids education you get better academic outcomes,” Mr Harris added.
“They’ve never before had an annual grant, which they can work with the school about how that money can best be spent to better education.
“Public education is free but the reality is parents are continually putting their hands in the pockets for a number of items, so it makes it harder for the P&C to raise funds.”
Ms Aitchison said the funding would provide crucial funding for lower socio-economic schools in the region.
The announcement comes after independent research revealed regional NSW was one of the most expensive regions in Australia to educate a child. Labor has also announced it will offer eye testing and free spectacles for up to 52,000 public school students in lower socio-economic areas.