Call to stop Gonski funding fight 

A LOCAL high school principal is calling for politicians to stop bickering over school funding reforms. 

The federal government is lobbying a reluctant Victorian government to sign up to Gonski reforms. 

Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said both governments should stop playing politics and do what’s best for students. 

“We’d like to see the politics put aside and for the interests of students to be paramount,” he said. 

“It’s hard to see from our perspective that that’s the case. 

“The reforms would mean that for the first time in Australia we’d have school funding based on real student needs. That’s not happening at the moment.” 

Mr Pearce said current funding arrangements were convoluted and said the proposed changes would be great for local students. 

“It’s a 20 to 30 per cent increase in real terms,” he said. 

“The schools would be in a much better position to offer programs and offer support to individual students who need it. 

“I think unfortunately the current standoff between the commonwealth and state government has become a little farcical. 

“Both parties need to draw breath and consider what’s really at stake here, and that’s the best interests of the students.”

Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum agreed politics should be put aside. 

“I couldn’t agree more with what Dale is saying,” he said. 

“However we’re dealing with the most political of all federal governments we can remember that we’ve ever experienced.

“Julia Gillard is doing everything in her power to ensure Victoria is denied the detail so that it is impossible for the Victorian government to make any decisions on education funding.”

Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said she also agreed with Mr Pearce. 

“This is just more and more excuses from Damian Drum,” she said. 

“There’s $75 million on the table for Bendigo public schools that our schools, teachers and community wants to see to ensure every kid gets a great education. 

“It’s time to sign.”

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