Catholic Schools NSW seek capital funding boost ahead of state election

NSW Catholic and independent schools are seeking a significant, long-term funding boost for new buildings and upgrades regardless of who wins the state election on 23 March.

Catholic Schools NSW (CSNSW), is calling on the State Liberal Government and the NSW Labor Party to substantially increase the capital grants provided to NSW Catholic and other non-government schools.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, acting Director of Schools, Gerard Mowbray said a funding commitment from both parties was crucial for this region as the Diocese was in a significant phase of growth and development. “We have a number of major projects to complete over the next 15 years, including new school developments at Chisholm, Medowie and the West Maitland corridor plus the constant renewal of current facilities.”

The NSW Government currently spends around $41 million per annum across the state on capital funding for Catholic and independent school, said Mr Mowbray. “A funding boost would mean the number of upgrades and the development of new facilities will be significantly enhanced.”

Catholic Schools NSW, CEO Dallas McInerney said capital funding from governments was prioritised to support the Catholic schools that had the greatest need. This included low socioeconomic status (SES) schools, those in fast growth areas and those where learning facilities are in urgent need of repair or an upgrade.

 “Government funding enables Catholic education to build the new classrooms we need to meet our share of student growth,” Mr McInerney said. “Without those extra places, students will be forced into the public school system where taxpayers fund the full cost of educating and accommodating students.”

A funding increase would also alleviate the added financial pressure placed on NSW families who attend Catholic or independent schools. “Currently, NSW Catholic school parents fund 90 per cent of capital works in their children’s schools (based on 2016 MySchool data),” Mr McInerney said. “Any additional funding will better support parents by funding more projects.”

 In the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, the expansion of St Joseph’s Lochinvar and St Mary’s Gateshead to Year 7-12 in recent years is an excellent example of what can be achieved through sufficient levels of capital funding. “Instead of our schools waiting 10 years for a much needed upgrade or expansion, a funding increase may mean it is only a two or three year wait,” Mr Mowbray said.

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