A COALITION of charities and service providers has united to demand the State Government retain cash help for battler families to meet spiralling school costs.
More than a dozen organisations have signed a letter requesting Education Minister Martin Dixon continue targeted assistance.
It’s feared some families will struggle to afford uniforms, excursions and school equipment when the education maintenance allowance is discontinued.
The government maintains the money is merely being redirected to schools through the new needs-based funding model and will still assist disadvantaged students.
Victorian Council of Social Service chief executive Emma King, whose organisation is leading the newly formed Education Equity Coalition, said the EMA had served families well as a targeted form of help.
It offers parents up to $300 for each child but will be discontinued next year with money redirected to help pay for extra schools funding as part of a new national agreement.
“It’s about making sure that kids can actually come to school with everything that they need and they can participate in school,” Ms King said..
“Without it it’s going to be really difficult for families.”
About 70 per cent of parents sign the money over to their child’s school.
Education Minister Martin Dixon said the government was committed to providing a quality education for all students regardless of their background.
An extra $12.2 billion in schools funding agreed with the Commonwealth would build on Victoria’s record $8.8 billion investment this year.
“The Victorian Coalition Government trusts schools and parents to work together to use additional schools funding over the next six years to make sure every student can access a world class education,” Mr Dixon said.
Parents Victoria, Catholic Social Services and Berry Street are among signatories to the letter.
It comes as the federal Schoolkids Bonus faces the axe.
State Schools Relief, which helps families with education costs, has posted record-high demand this year with 9500 students expected to receive assistance.
Source: Herald Sun