OUTRAGED local teachers and parents have demanded the NSW education minister dump drastic plans to cut school funding and axe jobs.
Earlier this week, minister Adrian Piccoli announced education spending in NSW would be slashed by $1.7 billion, with public and private schools and TAFE colleges sharing the pain of a four-year program of budget savings.
Under the plan, 600 education bureaucrats, 400 school administrative staff and 800 TAFE teachers would be dropped. There would also be a freeze in private school funding, leading to a loss of $116 million.
NSW Teachers Federation councillor and Griffith teacher, Richard Wiseman said strike action had not been ruled out.
He said students would suffer most under the "savage cuts".
"We know it's tough times; no one is denying that, but they need to get priorities straight," Mr Wiseman said.
"In one breath the Gonski review says education needs more funding, especially in the public section. Then in the next they turn around and cut billions.
"It just doesn't make any sense. They are talking about a funding freeze for independent schools, but we are actually losing positions. Either way, it's not good for anyone, especially not students.
"TAFE teachers are being sacked, TAFE fees are being increased. This will kill TAFE."
St Patrick's School council chairman Rob Kelly said the funding freeze would lead to a sharp rise in school fees.
"It's interesting that the Gonski review indicated funding to schools should be increased so we can improve student results, it seems to fly in the face of that to now turn around and attack schools like this," Mr Kelly said.
"As a result of these funding cuts our school fees could potentially go up by 12 per cent.
"We operate on fairly tight budgets all we want is the best education our students can have.
"We won't sit back and take this, it's not acceptable and we won't let it go through without our best efforts to reverse it."
TAFE Teachers' Association Griffith representative Bruno Musitano said the cuts would devastate the system.
"The uncertainty for our future is a big worry. Putting up fees isn't good for students either, it's hard enough as it is," Mr Musitano said.
"I think the government is losing the plot. At the end of the day our students are what matters and cutting jobs and funding won't help deliver quality education."
Despite repeated attempts by The Area News, Mr Piccoli could not be contacted yesterday.
But in a statement released on Tuesday, he said the NSW government had to make some tough decisions to ensure NSW is living within its means and to put the education budget back on a sustainable financial footing.