Background/ Context of Issue

Background/ Context of Issue

Position Paper
Date: 18 June 2012
Topic/Issue: Funding: Cash Components in SRP
(IT Grant; Cleaning, Grounds, Utilities, Maintenance & Minor Works, Essential Services/Minor Contracts) /

Background/ Context of issue:

Government schools are increasingly squeezed in relation to the cash component of their budgets designed to addressIT Grants; Cleaning, Grounds, Utilities, Maintenance & Minor Works, Essential Services/Minor Contracts. It is clearly evident that the cost of these services is not met in the SRP nor are the yearly increases in these charges. Schools are increasingly having to redirect funds from student programs/services/support to address this component of school costs. At the same time schools do not have access to additional funds due to government policy of ‘free education’.

What is working well in this area?

  • Clarity of funding in SRP
  • The fact that cash is given gives autonomy to how money is used
  • Access to local services and tradesmen

What isn’t working well?

  • Never enough funding to cover costs of utilities
  • Limited funds do not cater for extra expertise in employment
  • Need to pay essential items so important maintenance suffers
  • Insufficient funds for basic cleaning
  • Insufficient funds for grounds
  • IT grant has no relation to costs
  • Essential service contract costs in no way reflected by cash in budget
  • Multiple years of cash increases below the CPI. School budgets falling increasingly behind the real cost
  • Principals are forced to take educated risks e.g. by delaying repairs
  • The need to meet Australian standards, but increased costs not recognised in SRP
  • MMW backlog is compounding in many schools.

What does VASSP need to advocate to fix it?

  • Advocate for funding that is reflective of costs in each of these areas and that keeps pace with increasing costs.
  • There needs to be a ‘scaled’ process to cater for higher maintenance costs in older buildings
  • Advocate for a transparent and planned maintenance process that ensures that majority of maintenance issues are addressed via this process
  • Individual anomalies should be treated separately from funding e.g. older buildings, grounds
  • Need full indexation of the cash component in these areas so that costs are not covered by ‘robbing’ from student programs
  • In some schools the historical utilities component has not been updated
  • IT grant needs to be either increased substantially or DEECD needs to publish a policy that parents are responsible for the 1:1 provision
  • ‘Essential Services’ needs to be reviewed in terms of matching allowance to actual costs OR delete the component and provide the service centrally
  • Grounds allowance inadequate – barely pays for mowing. Need maintenance for fallen trees, asphalt or development works
  • Simplify credit to cash and make more flexible

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