GILMORE MP Ann Sudmalis is defending her pitch to school principals tosign up to the Abbott government’s $70 million Independent Public Schools Plan(IPS).
Nanjing Night Net

Mrs Sudmalis came under fire on Wednesday after being singled out in aSydney Morning Herald report for having sent emails to all the public schoolprincipals in her electorate, encouraging them to join the plan.

Mrs Sudmalis said the IPS Plan simply provided schools with someautonomy on how any possible funding they might receive is spent.

“They will still have the security of state government funding – theywill still be under the state government control,” she said.

“It allows schools to make more decisions for themselves. Take the BER(Building the Education Revolution) funding, schools were given funding butwere told they were getting a hall; they had no say how that funding was spent.

“This will allow schools, if future funding becomes available and itwill in the long term, to be able to make decisions on spending that funding totheir best advantage.

“They get to choose where the money goes.

“It allows parents, teachers and principals to work together andultimately maximise the outcomes for the children.”

She said the federal government was simply inviting schools toinvestigate the possibility of becoming an independent public school but anynegotiation had to be done through the NSW Education Department.

“We are not in opposition to the state government, we are an adjunct toit,” she said.

She said $70 million had been set aside to assist parent groups to workwith principals and staff to investigate the possibility of becomingindependent public schools.

“They will not be breaking away from the public system, it is aboutcreating a more co-operative nature between parents and schools, making themmore empowered,” she said.

She said the proposal has had a quiet groundswell of support and schoolsand parents would not be slugged with extra or a rise in fees.

“There will be no extra money for the schools or parents to pay,” shesaid.

“They don’t become true independent schools.”

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said since coming to office in2011 the government had introduced major reforms which increased local schoolauthority in public schools.

He said the Local Schools, Local Decisions reforms were introduced afterwide consultation with principals, teachers and school communities and schoolsin NSW were already seeing the benefits of the reforms which shiftdecision-making and responsibility to those best placed to know the needs ofstudents – the principals and their local school community.

Mrs Sudmalis said up until Wednesday there had been no formalcorrespondence from the NSW Education Department to the federal departmentrejecting the plan.

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