Public education should be free. But last year Queensland parents had to pay $89 million in school service fees, and millions more in extra costs.
Parents can be forced to spend over $4,000 a year on state school fees, textbooks and laptops. For some parents that’s not much money, but for many that can represent a massive component of a yearly budget.
Queensland has some of the most underfunded state schools in the country and parents, teachers and children pay the cost. Over the last 10 years of Labor and LNP Government, state funding per public school student has decreased by $128 while funding for private and catholic schools has increased by $220 and $246 per student respectively.
Queensland Labor and the Federal Coalition Government have created a massively unequal education system. It's a fundamental principle of Australian society that the circumstances of your birth shouldn’t determine your chances in life. It’s common sense that everyone in Australia should receive access to high-quality essential services regardless of their income or background. It’s time we fully funded public education.
The Queensland Greens will introduce genuinely free state school education in Queensland by:
- Increasing the Queensland government’s share of the needs-based Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) funding to 80% to fully fund Queensland public education
- Abolishing all school service fees, excursion costs and textbook costs and replacing these with extra Government funding
- Establishing a student technology fund to cover the costs of laptops and internet
- Creating an additional $250 million yearly school infrastructure fund to upgrade existing state schools and build new schools in areas of need
Fully Fund Queensland Public Schools
Right now Queensland state schools only receive 88% of their total needs-based funding, while both private and catholic Schools receive over 100%. Queensland state schools are the most underfunded state schools in the country because the Queensland Government only provides 69.26% of the needs-based funding to state schools - this is the worst proportion in the country. The Commonwealth Government has committed to 20% for every state and territory. This means under the current arrangement Queensland state schools will be underfunded by $5 billion over the next four years. Underfunding means larger class sizes, less support for our kids and more costs for teachers and parents.
The Queensland Greens will increase Queensland’s share of state school funding to 80%, providing an extra $5 billion over four years for Queensland State Schools. That’s the equivalent of 13,000 extra state school teachers, resulting in smaller class sizes, better resourced schools and higher quality education for our children.
Abolish School Fees and Costs
In 2019 Queensland parents forked out over $89 million in school service fees alone. They paid a further $92 million in excursion fees. Queensland state schools can charge parents over $1000 in school fees per student per year.
The Queensland Greens will legislate to ban the charging of compulsory or volunteer student service fees. On top of fully funding public schools the Greens will invest an extra $181 million a year (indexed to enrolment) to ensure no public school is worse off as a result of banning state school fees.
Laptop and Technology Fund
Laptops and tablets are one of the biggest expenses for parents - often costing them over $1000 for what is now a mandatory expense. For some families this is affordable, but for many it can be incredibly difficult to afford a laptop when they can’t even afford internet or a computer themselves. The state and federal Government are outsourcing the costs of essential education supplies to parents because they don’t want to tax big corporations to pay for essential services like health and education.
The Greens will establish a state government fund to purchase laptops or tablets for every state school student who needs one, plus provide grants to assist families with the cost of an internet connection.
School infrastructure fund
School overcrowding and infrastructure remains a serious issue across Queensland. While many schools have completed their master planning processes, they don’t have the funds to commence the necessary upgrades. The school infrastructure fund will ensure that resource funding will be matched with quality school infrastructure.
The Greens will invest $1 billion over four years in upgrading existing state schools and building new state schools in areas of need.