Catholic school parents in Victoria have been hit with large tuition fee rises after their schools were stripped of hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding, The Age reports.
Emmaus College in Vermont South has been forced to increase fees by 7.5 per cent next year, leaving parents scrambling to find an extra $500 for each child.
Other Victorian Catholic schools that have hiked next year’s fees above normal increases include De La Salle (7.5 per cent), Star of the Sea (4.9 per cent) and Santa Maria College in Northcote (6 per cent).
The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria is blaming the situation on the federal government’s Gonski 2.0 school funding model, but some parents at Emmaus College are not convinced.
Catherine McAlpine, who sits on the school’s finance committee, said the commission had failed to explain why it had cut money from the school when overall federal funding to the Catholic sector was increasing next year.
“It seems like the Catholic Education Commission is picking winners and losers in a unequitable way,” she said.
“There’s a total lack of transparency.”
Mrs McAlpine, whose three sons attend Emmaus, said parents had only been given two months’ notice about the fee increases. “You do have to think of it over Christmas and when you do your budgeting,” she said.
Funding for the school, which is considered to be of medium socioeconomic advantage, will drop by $600,000 next year.
A leaked email from school board chair and parent Paul Allen to federal government MP Julia Banks said the commission had inflicted fee increases in a manner that was ” misleading and void of transparency”.
Federal education minister Simon Birmingham said he was “just as confused” about the fee increases.
Emmaus principal Antony Hirst said Gonski 2.0 would adversely affect his school’s funding.