Howard squeeze on state schools hurts Lake Macquarie

The Howard Government is running a deliberate and systematic campaign against public schools in Lake Macquarie, The Greens have warned.

“While public schools battle to make do with inadequate resources, John Howard has opened the coffers to private schools across this region,” said Greens candidate for Shortland, Bob Phillips.

“Whitebridge High School, the biggest public high school in Shortland, receives $908,755 a year in Federal funds. If it were a wealthy private school it would receive $1.3 million. If it were a religious school it would receive up to $5.1 million.

“When the Howard Government came to power in 1996, Federal funding to private schools totalled $1.9 billion a year. In just 8 years this funding has more than doubled to $4.9 billion year, and by 2007 it will climb to $6 billion.

“This ruthless attack on our public schools has placed a time-bomb of inequality under our society. It is opening up an educational gap between the haves and have-nots.

“Families that can afford to send their kids to private schools are getting more taxpayer assistance, while those choosing public schools are being treated as second-class citizens.

“The Greens want to put a stop to this cynical attack on our hardworking public school teachers and our beleaguered public schools.

“We call on the Government to redirect the increases in private school funding towards public schools. This will allow smaller class sizes, higher salaries, resources for children with special needs and better buildings.

“The Greens also support an end to funding for the wealthiest private schools. This would redirect $1.5 billion into equity programs and Aboriginal education in public schools over the next four years,” said Mr Phillips.

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