Labor promises ongoing P and C funding
An annual $5000 grant will be given to school Parents and Citizens Associations if a Labor government is elected in March, in an election promise made on Wednesday.
Shadow Assistant Minister for Education David Harris and Labor candidate for Maitland Jenny Aitchison met with Morpeth Public School’s P and C President Ben Emmett to discuss the commitment, which would be available to 2200 schools at a cost of $11 million each year.
“Suddenly you’re starting to fund really important projects – upgrading technology, buying new sports uniforms, putting in COLAs and outdoor areas – with this extra funding,” Mr Harris said.
Rather than giving the money directly to the school, Mr Harris said the program was designed to encourage parents to participate in their child’s education.
“We could just give the money to the school, but this way principals and teachers will sit down with the P and C and decide how that money will be spent, so you’re actually strengthening the partnership,” he said.
“Public education is free, but the reality is that parents are continually putting their hands in the pockets for a number of items, so it makes it harder for the P and C to fundraise.”
Ms Aitchison added that $5000 could act as seed funding for a larger project, which was supported by Mr Emmett.
“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.
“$5000 is a hell of a lot of sausage sandwiches, and that is genuinely how schools raise their money.”
Mr Emmett said that after a recent significant outlay to transform the school canteen’s healthy options they were unable to offer any other projects, but with extra funding would look at investing in a vegetable garden.
The groups are able to apply for funding under existing government grant programs, such as Community Building Partnerships, however there is currently no recurrent funding scheme available for Parents and Citizens Associations.