Girton Grammar School is bracing to reassess staffing levels and school fees if they are hit by payroll tax reforms announced in the state budget.
School principal Dr Emma O'Rielly said while there was limited information about which schools would be affected and how badly, they were planning for the worst.
"The budget announcement regarding the removal of payroll tax exemptions for high-fee, independent schools is a cause for concern," Dr O'Rielly said.
"If the legislation is passed, we will be forced to explore various options to maintain the school's financial sustainability while continuing to deliver the unique educational experience that Girton offers to the Bendigo region.
"This may include a careful review of our services, programs, classes, staffing, and school fees".
The Victorian government announced in the state budget the end of the payroll tax exemption for high-fee independent schools, netting the state an estimated $135 million in 2024-25 and $422.2 million in the next four years.
Under the proposed reforms, about 110 high-fee private schools would be stripped of their longstanding payroll tax exemptions, with it being widely reported that an $8000 and above fee threshold had be targeted.
Girton, in several incarnations, has offered schooling in Bendigo since 1884 and currently operates classes from prep to Year 12.
The annual tuition fees for Girton range between $12,560 to $15,508 for pupils in year 6 and below or year 7 and above, respectively.
Dr O'Rielly said there was the assumption all students who attend Girton were from well-off families, but many of the college's 1200 students were from a range of backgrounds.
"While the overnment may categorise Girton as a high-fee school, it is crucial to recognise that our families come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds," she said.
"They work hard to afford the fees because they have high aspirations for their children's educational opportunities."
Dr O'Rielly said the school would be working closely with other independent schools to shift the state government's position.
"We are working closely with Independent Schools Victoria (ISV), who are actively advocating for Girton and other independent schools with the government," she said.
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