The Commonwealth Government has recently adopted changes in Federal funding for Non-Government schools. These changes remove the spatial weighting for Occupation and Education from the old Howard-era SES scores and instead rely on data linkages to provide a direct measure of matched Personal Income Tax (PIT) for parents and guardians.
A higher PIT means higher SES scores for parents and guardians, lower Government subsidies and higher school fees, after transitioning periods and subject to loadings. With all other factors being equal, the additional fees to be paid by parents rise by about $300 for secondary students for each additional SES point.
Due to the lack of official information released about the impact of these changes on individual school communities, we have had to rely on whatever information was publicly available to assess their broader impact on specific demographic groups.
Following the recent by-election in Longman, it has become obvious parents are deeply concerned at any changes to the long-standing Commonwealth Funding formula and that these changes could have a political impact on the election due in May next year. To better inform the public and parents, we have constructed an interactive Map to show some reasonable impressions of how these changes could impact on current Federal seats.
It should be stressed however that these changes by the Commonwealth will be based on the incomes of parents and guardians at each school, rather than on the average residents and voters in our map. There are also caps on the minimum and maximum subsidies from the Commonwealth to minimise extreme variations and there are loadings for specific needs. So the funding for each school is not determined exclusively by a school’s SES score.
From our working knowledge of individual profiles of Non-Government schools, it can be concluded that the incomes of parents and guardians will be higher than those of non-parents as many parents take steps to earn additional income specifically to pay for their children’s education in Independent or in Catholic schools.
The map also shows 2016 Two Party Preferred votes in the same seats for the ALP and Coalition, 2016 primary House of Representative votes for the Greens and 2016 Primary Senate votes for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
It appears from the analysis underlying the map data, that the biggest increase in non-Government school fees will be felt in Mining seats, where younger, blue collar parents tend to choose better-paid jobs, often specifically to fund school fees and the mortgage on the family home. This change has been brought about mainly by the fact that blue collar jobs were accorded relatively low SES status under the old SES formula. With this weighting removed, their SES score will rise and the Government subsidy fall, driving up fees.
Conversely, the bigger winners appear to be parents typically living in inner urban areas, with incomes marginally above average, but with extremely high SES weightings for their tertiary education and professional jobs under the old SES formula. This weighting acted, in effect as a de facto measure of job security and superannuation entitlements and when it is removed, their new SES score tends to fall considerably. The extent is difficult to measure however, as these seats also contain high percentages of tertiary students, who we can assume do not have school aged children.
Click on image to view SES Funding Map