Category Archives: Australian School Funding

Australian School Funding and Finance Capital Expenidture (Part 3)

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We have gone over on how generally how Australian education funding coming from and composition of the recurrent income as well. If you missed those, you can find them at (Part 1) and (Part 2).

Capital expenditure is not part of the recurrent income of the schools and they are also very important as well when considering education funding. This is particularly true with government schools as their recurrent income only really only fund the day to day operations where by far the majority of their capital projects are funded by federal and state governments out of their education budgets. Majority of the Catholic and independent school’s capital expenditure is funded by themselves but also funded in part by federal and state governments.

With further delay following tables list the capital expenditure of Australia schools and break them down into government, Catholic and independent as well. This data is obtained from the Australian Curriculum, Assessments and Reporting Authorities (ACARA).

All Australian School Capital Expenditure For The Year 2016 ($000s)

 New South WhalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Australian government capital expenditure53,888137,88955,62613,60032,2073,70730,4416,037333,395
State/territory government capital expenditure391,934217,965287,25522,256317,43253,55646,02131,3111,367,729
Capital expenditure from new school loans138,380222,939152,71161,609150,57818,9804,3498,827758,372
Income allocated to current capital projects279,786338,170184,96036,47785,98920,98882017,079964,270
Capital expenditure from other private sources337,805306,615160,10577,47390,3499,60614,2169,8821,006,052
Total capital expenditure1,201,7941,223,578840,657211,416676,554106,83795,84773,1364,429,819

For the year 2016, there are 3,818,362 full-time equivalent students in all
Australian schools for funding purpose, per student that is $1160 per student spend on capital expenditure.

Australian School Capital Expenditure For Government Schools 2016 ($000s)

 New South WhalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Australian government capital expenditure9,73497,13926,4163,77813,3501,03225,1702,726179,345
State/territory government capital expenditure381,582215,452241,41822,234314,30852,70641,17431,1361,300,010
Capital expenditure from new school loans000000000
Income allocated to current capital projects49,0712390076600050,076
Capital expenditure from other private sources1,47614,1543,5037,24800920027,300
Total capital expenditure441,863326,98427133733,260328,42453,73867,26433,8621,556,732

For the year 2016, there are 2,488,900 full-time equivalent students in all
Australian government schools for funding purpose. Total capital expenditure on all government schools Australia wide is 1.56 Billion and per student that is $625 per student spend on capital expenditure. Also to note less than 2 percent of capital expenditure by the Government/Public school sector in 2016 is from private sources.

Australian School Capital Expenditure For Government Schools 2016 ($000s)

 New South WhalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Australian government capital expenditure22,00423,85117,3075,6869,0681,4511,7352,14883,249
State/territory government capital expenditure7,4461,05319,11941,6017872,032932,052
Capital expenditure from new school loans47,94393,84261,21324,61286,7949,8262,036290326,556
Income allocated to current capital projects30,707166,50052,6798,98324,94810,8645908,103303,373
Capital expenditure from other private sources150,92458,50681,08639,44137,6772,94510,1980380,778
Total capital expenditure259,025343,752231,40378,726160,08925,87316,59010,5501,126,008

For the year 2016, there are 725,817 full-time equivalent students in all
Australian schools within the Catholic sector for funding purpose. Total capital expenditure on all government schools Australia wide is 1.13 Billion and per student that is $1551 per student spend on capital expenditure. Also to note 10.2 percent of capital expenditure by the Catholic school sector in 2016 is sourced from Federal and State government funding.

Australian School Capital Expenditure For Independent Schools 2016 ($000s)

 New South WhalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Australian government capital expenditure22,15016,89911,9034,1379,7881,2243,5371,16370,801
State/territory government capital expenditure2,9061,46026,717181,523622,81516635,668
Capital expenditure from new school loans90,437129,09791,49836,99863,7839,1542,3138,537431,816
Income allocated to current capital projects200,008171,431132,28127,49460,27410,1252318,976610,821
Capital expenditure from other private sources185,405233,95575,51730,78452,6726,6613,0979,882597,973
Total capital expenditure500,906552,842337,91699,430188,04127,22611,99328,7251,747,079

For the year 2016, there are 603,046 full-time equivalent students in all Independent Australian schools for funding purpose. Total capital expenditure on all government schools Australia wide is 1.75 Billion and per student that is $2897 per student spend on capital expenditure. Also to note 6.1 percent of capital expenditure by the Independent school sector in 2016 is sourced from Federal and State government funding.

As you can see from above capital expenditure is one area where government and public schools tend to suffer in terms of funding. Government and public schools play host to 65.2 percent of total students but only accounts for 35 percent of total capital expenditure. Catholic school sector spends 248 percent per student on capital expenditure compared to government and public schools. When you look at the independent schools this is even in more stark contrast, the independent school sector spends in 2016 is 464 percent per student compare to government and public school sector.

This number for 2016 is very typical from year to year. There was a large bump during the year during and immediately post 2008 financial crisis years. This actually is one of the best things happened to the government and public schools in decades. I have personally visited a very large number of public schools in and near my area. It is very obvious that many schools had no significant capital expenditure for decades and only new buildings they had are from that surge. My view is that government schools need more capital investment, I will try to do another follow up this blog if time permits in the near future.

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Australian School Funding and Finance (Part 2)

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Now that we have gone over who is responsible for the Australian schools and how they are funded. If you missed that blog you can visit Australian School Funding and Finance (Part 1) again.

Next, we will go over this in some numbers at a high level, so we will have a better understanding of funding amount and source. I have compiled the recurrent income for all Australian schools for the year of 2016, then further broken it down to government and non-government schools. I have broken down basically alone the line of major funding sources for the school, also added the capital spending coming out of the recurrent income as well. One thing to note is that state and territories also spend additional funds on capital projects for both public and private schools, these are things like complete new school, additional classrooms and other capital improvements.

 Number of SchoolsNumber Of StudentsTotal Gross IncomeFederal GovState GovFee ChargedOther Private SourceIncome allocated for capital project from 2014 to 2016
All Schools94803818362$57.8 Billion$16.3 Billion$29.5 Billion$10.1 Billion$1.8 Billion$2.8 Billion
Per School403$15131$4275$7728$2657$471$734
Government School66842488900$34.2 Billion$6.1 Billion$26.3 Billion$1 Billion$772 Million$140 Million
Per School (Government)371$13744$2452$10566$414$310$56
Non-Government School27961329463$23.6 Billion$10.2 Billion$3.2 Billion$9.1 Billion$1.03 Billion$2.66 Billion
Per School (Non-Government)475$17729$7685$2416$6855$772$2003

There are some very interesting data for government school average $13,744 per student with 18 per cent of that coming from the federal government, 77 per cent from state governments and 5 per cent from private sources. The private schools average $17,729 per student with 43 per cent of the income from the federal government, 14 per cent from state governments and 43 per cent from private sources. As you can see 57 per cent of private schools recurrent funding coming from public sources, the majority of the private schools would not be able to operate at all without public funds.

I will also do another follow up to analyse the additional capital funding various of state and territory governments are spending on the capital projects where it is possible to break down on how much of it is spent on public or private schools. Once the additional capital spending is taken into account there is not likely big difference in terms of per-student spending between private and public schools. However, there is a large difference in what each school receives, for example, an inner-city primary school in the Sydney north shore area may get less than ten thousand per student, but another school in remote area NSW can receive five or six times that amount. This is also something I am interested to further exploit to found out how the funding is distributed and where they go to as well.

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Australian School Funding and Finance (Part 1)

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As someone who has a great interest in education, particularly public education. School funding and finance is one topic you cannot avoid to be involved with. How the funding is distributed also reflects how the Australian political landscape move and shifts as well. It also gives the public an insight into the priority of funding and underlying political philosophy as well. How the funding works is also a practical maze as well with different formulas and multiple sources as well.

To start with this topic first I need to go over the composition and makeup of the Australia schooling system. Australian primary and secondary schools are run by either the public or private sector. Public schools in Australia is run and operated by each State and territories, not the federal government. The private schools are divided into two categories, independent and Catholic schools. School funding also derives from different sources that being federal government and state government grant, plus private sources. Within the private sources, there is also a difference in the type of private funding sources, it is made up fee, charges, parental contribution and other private sources.

On top of the what listed already, state and territories also fund capital project outside the school’s recurrent income, this includes both public and private schools. Public school’s capital projects are pretty much exclusively funded by this. Private school’s capital projects are funded in a mix of private and public funds.

As you can see already there are a lot of complexities in how the Australian schools are funded and where those funds are coming from. Typically the public schools derive most of their funding from federal and state government and with the private schools it is as straightforward, some get most of their funding from private sources where the others actually mostly funded by the public.

I will try to go into more detail and provide more data on this topic in the follow-up blog posts.

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