OUTRAGED Griffith parents have united to condemn the state government’s controversial plan to slash more than $1.7 billion from the education budget.
The cuts were announced by NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli last week and will pull funding from government, independent and Catholic schools and TAFE colleges.
A total of 1800 jobs will go, including 800 TAFE positions and 400 school administrative staff. Private schools will lose $116 million, and $200 million of public school funding will be cut.
Griffith and Wade High School P&C groups have vowed to work together and plan to meet early next term to discuss what action they will take.
They have extended an invitation for Mr Piccoli to attend that meeting.
“We are uniting because the feeling is so strong,” Griffith High School P&C president Michelle Woolfe said.
“This is not about increasing teachers’ salaries. It is about fair education for our kids.
“We will support any action teachers feel they need to take and urge the whole community to. We know it’s hard when you have to work and it’s difficult to find babysitters, but this is so important for our kids’ future.
“No matter how hard it is we all need to get behind them.
“We’d like to ask Mr Piccoli the logic behind these cuts, especially considering the findings of the Gonski review.”
Wade High School P&C president Julie Andreazza said all primary school P&C groups and Catholic schools in and around Griffith would be invited to attend next month’s meeting.
“These cuts will mean more fundraising for P&Cs who are already doing so much, Mrs Andreazza said.
“As it is we recently had to give money for maths text books – you’d think that was a basic resource. They say they need to cut fat from the system but there is no fat.
“They are so out of touch with what is really going on.
“It’s hard enough to attract teachers, but if budgets are tighter it’s only going to make it harder.
“It is frustrating that we have to fight but we have no other choice. Training and development for teachers will be affected by these cuts and the lack of training will only roll on to our kids.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of special needs kids and we need support staff to help them.”
NSW Teachers Federation councillor and Griffith teacher, Richard Wiseman, said at this stage there were no firm plans for strike action, but he wouldn’t rule it out.
The combined Griffith schools P&C meeting is set down for Wednesday, October 10 at 5.30pm at Griffith High School.
Despite repeated attempts, Mr Piccoli could not be contacted for a response.