Schools buck trend of capital divide

By Kyabram Free Press

MASSIVE differences in capital expenditure between schools have been highlighted in research released by the ABC. 

But it looks like for Kyabram, Tongala and surrounding towns, the discrepancy between public, private and Catholic education might not be as acute as the national trend. 

According to the data, Kyabram P-12 college spent $1,334,695 while Rushworth P-12 College spent only $158,788 on capital expenses between 2015 and 2017. 

Meanwhile St Augustine's College spent $563,209. Only $2749 of that was government funded. 

St Patrick's Primary School in Tongala didn't receive any government cheque for their $118,690 spent on capital expenditure, and just down the road at Tongala Primary School $47,559 was spent, mostly from government coffers. 

The statistics are from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority's My School website, and show financial data and enrolment trends. 

For Kyabram P-12 College and Rushworth P-12 College it was a somewhat grim outlook, with enrolments remaining stagnant at Rushy and dropping by 12 per cent in Ky between 2013 and 2018. 

St Augustine's fared better, with an increase of seven per cent.

Tongala Primary School and St Patrick's Primary School Tongala both increased enrolments by 16 per cent in the same period. 

The study also showed the income per student for each school, and St Patrick's came out on top with a reported $24,212; $22,735 of which was government funded. 

At the bottom of the local list was Tongala Primary School, which has an income per student of $11,878. 

The ABC investigation found that one in three public schools spent less than $250,000, compared with one in eight private schools.

Australia's four richest schools spent more on new facilities and renovations than the poorest 1,800 schools combined.

Capital funding is considered separate to recurrent funding, which covers the ongoing costs of running a school and can't be spent on capital projects. 

Public schools can apply for this funding through the state government, but private schools have the option of applying for both state government and Commonwealth funding.