Piccoli planned to cut 'an extra $150m'

THE head of the NSW private school lobby said yesterday the Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, told him he planned to cut an extra $150 million over four years from independent and Catholic schools.

Geoff Newcombe, the executive director of the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, said this would be in addition to a cut of $80 million.

He said this suggested state schools would lose $320 million over a four-year period. Under the existing funding structure, independent schools automatically receive 25 per cent of the amount given to public schools.

Dr Newcombe said Mr Piccoli told him at a confidential meeting last Tuesday independent and Catholic schools would lose a total of $231 million in state government funding over four years.

The state government would need to introduce new laws to reduce that level of funding for independent schools.

Dr Newcombe and Brian Croke, from the Catholic Education Commission, said they had been told the loss to both sectors would be $67 million in the first year.

''If it was just the flow-on amount from the cuts to public schools that we were losing, it would be hard to argue against,'' Dr Newcombe said.

The NSW Labor Party said yesterday it would oppose any cuts. The NSW Greens said they would support the government plans.

The Labor Party leader, John Robertson, said he was seeking the support of all crossbench members to stop the Premier's cuts to school funding.

The story Piccoli planned to cut 'an extra $150m' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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