A common myth about government funding being used in extravagant building programs in Independent schools
Myth: Government funding is used to fund extravagant building programs in Independent schools.
Fact: There are strict rules on the use of government recurrent funding to Independent schools, it cannot be used for capital works.
There is a common misconception that major building programs in Independent schools are funded through government funding. But the fact is, federal and state/ territory governments supply varying levels of recurrent funding to all Independent schools solely for the provision of education. This includes the payment of teacher salaries, curriculum-related and general school running costs. Spending recurrent funding on capital works is not allowed, and schools’ compliance in this is carefully monitored.
The Australian Government does provide some support for capital infrastructure in Independent schools. This is provided under the Capital Grants Program, which must give priority to schools with the least capacity to raise funds from their school communities. In 2016 grants for the Independent school sector totalled approximately $53 million.
The vast majority of capital funding, nearly 90%, in the Independent school sector is provided by parents and communities. These funds are raised through fees, building funds, targeted fund raising and donations.