ACT Budget 2024 – bare essentials budget for public education

ACT’s peak body for public school parents is disappointed to see that public education will receive the bare minimum in today’s Budget allocations – with funding to repair leaky school roofs, teach children to read and write, and ensure some students are fed.

The ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations calls on the ACT Government to ensure that all public schools are resourced to support all students.

Council welcomes the $24.9 million for the Strong Foundations literacy and numeracy initiative, noting more funding will be needed to deliver the recommendations of the expert panel in full.

“Parents look forward to the implementation of the panel’s recommendations across all ACT public schools, scheduled to start in Term 1 next year,” Executive Officer Veronica Elliot said.

“Parents want to be confident that their students access an equitable, quality and consistent education at every school – and not a postcode lottery.”

Council is pleased to see forward planning for new schools in town centres, as well as planning and expansion of existing schools in high demand areas.

But Council believes much of the funding announced in today’s Budget will go towards issues that should already be in hand.

“It’s not unreasonable for parents to expect their student will learn to read and write, but how fantastic would it be if all of our public schools had inspiring learning spaces, rather than meeting basic requirements” Ms Elliott said.

“The need for endless repairs to poorly maintained infrastructure at some schools is an ongoing issue for school communities.”

Council supports the expansion of the Equity Fund, which helps low-income families cover the costs of school essentials.

“We are pleased to see $3.9 million allocated for the long-awaited Meals in Schools pilot program, which will provide breakfast and lunch to students at five ACT public schools for three days a week,” Ms Elliott said.

“But the ongoing costs of living remain an issue for our schools that are trying to support struggling families.”

“We want to see the ACT Government and upcoming election candidates showing their support by increasing funding for our public education system.”

“Now is the time to ensure our public education system can lead into the future.”

“Our schools need resourcing to ensure all students reach their potential.”

/Public Release. View in full here.