$148.3 million to replace the EMA; a great result for students!
The 2015 – 2016 Victorian State budget invests almost $3.3 billion in Victoria’s education system for 900,000 students.
VicSRC attended the Department of Education budget briefing and we’re pleased to hear the Victorian government has delivered the biggest ever increase to school funding meaning significant support for students.
What we are proud of?
Yesterday the government announced $148.3 million for the Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund will help over 200,000 students and their families from government, independent and catholic schools. The money will be allocated directly to schools on the same basis as the EMA.
In August 2015, at a student led conference, Victorian students overwhelmingly voted in favour of preserving the EMA. Students passed a resolution calling for ‘the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to be retained or an equivalent scheme implemented’.
200,000 students in Victoria received the EMA. Students we’re worried that the changes to the EMA will seriously impact friends and families. Students and supporters worked hard to put pressure on the state government to ensure an equivalent scheme was funded. This is a big win for a grass roots student led campaign.
What is the investment for students?
- $325 million to refurbish and rebuild 67 schools
- $111 million to build 10 new schools
- $13.7 million for Breakfast club, we know students focus better at school on a full stomach, Breakfast club will provide over 25,000 free breakfasts to disadvantaged students
- $15.65 million to State School’s Relief to provide students with free uniform, shoes, books and stationary
- $480,000 in Glasses for kids program; including free eye tests and glasses for prep – Year 3 students in 250 disadvantaged schools.
Victoria’s most vulnerable young people were dealt a blow recently when the Federal Government slashed funding to the Youth Connections program, which had helped marginalised young people back into school, training or work. While these cuts were a federal decision, it is important these gaps are filled.
School aged young people are entitled, and required, to get a secondary education. If a young person cannot stay in a mainstream school, appropriate support must be available to reconnect them.
Similarly, we are concerned to see no further funding allocation for the School Focused Youth Service, a program that helps schools to work with community and health services to support young people at risk of mental illness and suicide. Funding to this important initiative will lapse in December, and without a commitment in the budget its future seems uncertain.
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