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More than three quarters of state and federal funding for school education in Queensland is directed to state schools, the latest report on government expenditure has again confirmed.

In 2018-19, $10.42 billion in total government recurrent funding (including user costs of capital) was spent on state schools and $3.33 billion on non-state Independent and Catholic schools.

Of the $13.75 billion in total government recurrent funding invested in all Queensland schools in 2018-19, approximately 76% was invested in state schools and 24% in non-state schools.

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said the Commonwealth Government provided the majority of recurrent government funding for non-state Independent and Catholic schools (75.5%), while the State Government was the primary funder of state schools (83%).

“The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2021 showed on a per student basis governments invested $18,754 (including user costs of capital) per Queensland state school student and $12,307 per non-state school student,” Mr Robertson said.

“This lower level of recurrent funding allocated to the 274,000 Queensland students enrolled in non-state schools in 2019 freed up $1.76 billion in public funding for governments to direct to other essential services,” he said.

Mr Robertson said not included in the report were the significant financial contributions Queensland independent school parents made from their after-tax incomes towards their children’s education.

“Tuition fees paid by independent school parents meet, on average, about 55% of school running costs and about 90% of infrastructure costs,” he said.

Mr Robertson said Queensland’s independent schooling sector had been growing in school and student numbers, with domestic enrolments expected to rise to about 130,000 this year – almost a 23% increase since 2010.

“Parents value their right to choose a school that aligns with their values and beliefs and that they believe will provide the optimal learning environment for their child to thrive,” he said.

“Independent schools serve families from all income levels and are supporting increased numbers of disengaged and at-risk students, Indigenous students and students with disability.”

“It’s vital that existing and future state and federal funding and regulatory environments support a growing and sustainable independent school sector.”

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