Government should cut funding to Grammar after Snow’s donation, union says

Lachlan Roberts 29 October 2019 83
Terry Snow

Mr Snow’s $20 million donation to his former school has angered the Australian Education Union. Photo: Supplied.

The ACT branch of the Australian Education Union is calling on the ACT Government to cut its funding to Canberra Grammar School after it received a hefty $20 million donation from old boy Terry Snow.

On Saturday morning (26 October), the Australian Education Union ACT branch council, which represents more than 3,700 teachers, unanimously carried a motion calling for the government to cut funding to the private school.

The motion said the Commonwealth and ACT Governments should immediately recall the millions of dollars of funding that the school receives from taxpayers and ratepayers each year.

It said Snow’s recent donation is a “perfect vignette of the intolerable inequity that exists”.

“Council requests that any planned future government funding earmarked for Canberra Grammar School be immediately repurposed to directly support the education – preferably the music education – of the ACT’s disadvantaged students, the overwhelming majority of whom are in public schools,” the motion reads.

“Council remains outraged that Australia’s school education system is one of the most socially segregated in the world and that the funding of Australian schools is becoming increasingly inequitable. It is a national scandal.

“Nobody can or should control how Terry Snow donates his money, but governments have a responsibility to provide financial subsidies and support to Australians who need it and to not waste precious tax expenditure on those who do not need it.”

The proposed auditorium

An artist’s impression of the new auditorium and library that will be built thanks to Terry Snow’s donation. Image: Canberra Grammar School.

The secretary of the ACT branch, Glenn Fowler, believes private schools should not receive money from the government.

“In this country, there is a sense of entitlement around private school funding,” Mr Fowler told Region Media. “It doesn’t matter what they have, they continue to get millions of dollars a year of money that could be better spent on public schools.

“I would say there is a strong consensus in the Australian public that funding is not fair, that public school kids need more and private school kids have enough.

“It is an absolute waste of taxpayers money going into that school. They don’t need it. They have no entitlement to it. There is no justification for it.”

The union believes that the school receives more than $34 million per year in fees paid by parents and $7 million a year in government funding. Mr Fowler said both the ACT and Federal Governments need to reassess its need-based funding for schools.

“There have been attempts by various governments to address the issue of needs-based funding in Australia but what they have landed on doesn’t cut it,” he said. “There is still massive inequities.

“The money going to Canberra Grammar from governments has nothing to do with need but rather a sense of historical entitlement. It should be immediately rethought.

“The most important question to ask is why are some children in this country seen as more important than others?”

The Canberra Airport owner donated $20 million to his former school for a 1,400-seat auditorium, a music centre and a 450 square-metre library in the heart of its campus. The complex will also include a formal entryway, four music classrooms, up to 20 music tuition rooms and a staff room.

It is believed the donation is the largest endowment to a school in Australian history.

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83 Responses to Government should cut funding to Grammar after Snow’s donation, union says
Nic Salter-Harding Nic Salter-Harding 9:49 pm 01 Nov 19

To all those saying ‘It’s his money, he can donate to whoever he wants’ ... No one is disputing that! The question is whether they should be receiving government funding as well. And the answer, frankly, is no. They make plenty of money, and there are many schools that need funding more urgently.

AbbDon Helen AbbDon Helen 8:33 pm 01 Nov 19

Oh my goodness... it’s his money ... his choice... obviously would not have given it to CGS if that school had not left an impression on him. Wonderful to see philanthropy at work and kids benefiting

bj_ACT bj_ACT 1:17 pm 01 Nov 19

If Terry Snow really wanted to help Indigenous students in Canberra. Why doesn’t he donate to a certain Tuggeranong school where not a single Indigenous student in the entire school is performing above the bottom 2 performance bands.

noid noid 12:24 pm 01 Nov 19

OK so what you’re saying is people who have paid their taxes of which includes a portion that goes to fund education should not be able to have their tax contribution go to the school they have chosen? And if not should people without children contribute to schools when they will not be using the service?

Kurt von Demleux Kurt von Demleux 1:56 am 01 Nov 19

Aidan Thurbon Consti Nikias big time sour grapes in the comment section

noid noid 12:26 pm 31 Oct 19

What a great gesture of appreciation from Mr Snow, wouldn’t it be great if other successful business people from public schools did the same for their schools…………….just a thought.

Nicholas Houston Nicholas Houston 11:36 am 31 Oct 19

I am tired of my taxes paying for other people's educational choices, particularly at religious schools. State subsidies for private schooling should be completely cut. If you want to make the choice for a religious or elite education, pay for it yourselves and stop confusing private and public enterprise. When state schools are starved of funds, you pro-state payer subsidy people for schools that already have magnificent infrastructure are unreal.

Monica Tiffen Monica Tiffen 8:31 pm 30 Oct 19

Why should any-one say how our own money should be spent. I have heard so many times of his generosity , and admire him very much. Comments sound jealous and very spiteful. It IS his money, and his choice, as it should be!

Lizzy Wheeler Lizzy Wheeler 11:46 am 30 Oct 19

Ahahahahahah Nick Dimoff

Alex Katsoulis Alex Katsoulis 8:48 am 30 Oct 19

I think a major point is being missed in this conversation.

I doubt mr snow would donate if this school fid not have a major positive impact on his life and who he ended up being.

For that reason people should cease the bashing of private / public and the haves and have nots.

I am sure an equal number of successful people attended public schooling too.

Are the donating back to their school?

At the end of the day private schools receive a smaller per child government funding than public schools.

The major differenceis the quality of people and educational focus that private schools offer.

Public schools are trapped in the quagmire oc behavior management on most days with education falling to a secondary focus.

Mathew Hoole Mathew Hoole 8:41 am 30 Oct 19

Parents of private school students in addition to paying their children's private school fees also pay for the monolithic system they don't use. Lets make the education system a competitive market like Chile and Sweden. Each child gets an education voucher. It can be used to go public at no cost to the parent. Or the voucher can be used to go private, and the parent pays the difference. This would force public schools to be competitive, and get rid of poor performing teachers that otherwise can't be sacked.

Darcy Ryan Darcy Ryan 3:31 am 30 Oct 19

The public system would not cope without private schools. If they were to close over summer and every kid shows up at a public school there would be no room and not enough budget.

PS my kids have been in both the public and private system. My education was in both the public and private systems.

Paul Pomazak Paul Pomazak 9:45 pm 29 Oct 19

Definitely stop the funding. Enough of our tax money is wasted no need to keep giving money where it is not needed. It’s common sense!!!

    Jordan Greenwood Jordan Greenwood 6:14 am 30 Oct 19

    Paul Pomazak how do you know it’s not needed?

    Just because parents, many of whom work 2nd and 3rd jobs to pay for their child’s private education, doesn’t mean the school shouldn’t benefit from a private donation. Doesn’t mean there aren’t still kids who could benefit from funding.

    It’s actually none of your business, it’s a private donation.

    The public system would crash if it weren’t for private schools.

Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:26 pm 29 Oct 19

I would have thought an act of generosity of this level would be welcomed by all instead of used as a weapon to stab private schools. Sad state of affairs when a gift of historical proportions is twisted in such a manner. It’s not Terry Snows job to prop up ACT Government budgets. What a way to discourage future generosity.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 9:08 pm 29 Oct 19

The donation is funding Indigenous scholarships and a music centre that will benefit the whole community. I’m all for it.

Andrew Brettargh Andrew Brettargh 8:19 pm 29 Oct 19

an act of generosity is an act of generosity..

    Mick Comerford Mick Comerford 11:22 am 30 Oct 19

    Andrew Brettargh hey AB bet they don't let their students play for other clubs either🤣 Matt Henry

    Andrew Brettargh Andrew Brettargh 11:55 am 30 Oct 19

    Mick Comerford ... Let me finish with the Vatican before turning my energies to the church of England..

Carole Ford Carole Ford 8:05 pm 29 Oct 19

There certainly needs to be a conversation had, and soon.

Stephen Finnegan Stephen Finnegan 7:29 pm 29 Oct 19

What about rich folk who send their kids to a public school. Should they be made to pay a fee based on their income. Aren't they leeching off the system to the detriment of the less fortunate?

Leo Menssen Leo Menssen 6:58 pm 29 Oct 19

Seeing private schools charge so much in tuition and get private donations it makes sense to reduce private school funding. Of course the rich will disagree.

Reece Williams Reece Williams 5:07 pm 29 Oct 19

Damn straight.

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