Should non-government schools receive government funding?

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A poll on the ABC website caught my attention today, with this result so far

ABC Private Education Funding Poll

Another way to ask this question is:
[poll id=”7″]

This all made me wonder if everyone realises just how much is actually saved in taxpayer dollars by the use of non-government schools.

And if people realise how much extra tax they would have to pay if everyone went to State schools ?

It can be taken as a fact that only a few children would end up going to private schools if no public funding was available. This can be assumed from other countries such as the United Kingdom who do not provide funds for Private Schools, and where only about 5% of students attend privately funded schools. In Australia this figure is closer to 40%.

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To get an idea of how the Australian system of government funding for all children works, I will use my own childs school as an example.

Non Government School

The 2009 school income is quoted as $11,503,690 from the website.

Government funds provide $6,799,006 of this (an average of $6,752 per student), with parents and other sources providing $4,704,683.

Government School

The local State schools income was quoted as $12,970,245 with government funding providing $12,127,760 (an average of $9,293 per student), and $842,484 provided by parents and other sources.

From the above figures it can be seen that taxpayers are being saved the sum of $2,541 for each student that attends this particular non government school.

There are schools that receive higher funding than this, and there are others that receive lower funding, so it could even be that the average could be around this $2,500 figure. If so, then lets see how much it adds up to if all student funding was abolished, and most children ended up going to State schools, as in countries with similar policies.

Figures from the ABS 4221.0 – Schools, Australia, 2010 show that 2,282,357 attended Government Schools in 2010 and 1,204,522 attended Non Government Schools. That is a total of 3,486,879 children in school.

The current cost to Australian taxpayers to cover the education of all these 3,486,879 students, using the above two schools funding figures would be: (2,282,357 x $9,293) + (1,204,522 x $6,752) = $29,342,876,145.

If 95% were educated in Government schools and 5% remained in full private funded independent schools, the taxpayer cost would be (3,312,535 x $9,293) + (174,344 x $6,752) = $31,960,558,570.

Based on the above, the taxpayer would need to find an extra $2.6 billion per year for the education budget. $2.6 billion is about $130 per year for each person year in Australia. This may be about $500 per year for each taxpayer.

My question is:

Should the taxpayer have to pay extra, so that Private Schools can close and almost all students go to State schools instead, and therefore stop most of the slightly better off parents contributing financially to their children’s education ?

At the time of the above ABC poll, it appears that 57% would prefer to pay more tax to save the parents of Private school from paying out.

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