SCHOOLS FORCED TO RAID FUNDS TO PAY FOR MOUNTING IT DEBACLE

-->

Education budgets could be slashed to pay for the botched Learning Management Building Reform (LMBR) program now Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian has ruled out providing any further funding from NSW Treasury.

 

During a budget estimates hearing yesterday, Ms Berejiklian confirmed the Department of Education will be forced to cover the cost blowout of the LMBR from existing funding. 

Ms Berejiklian refused to say how schools would find the money to meet the escalating costs, except to say it is a matter for the Minister for Education and his department. 

She also refused to provide the final estimated cost of delivering the LMBR – which is known by the Government and has been discussed at length by cabinet.

In order to cover the cost blowout, schools will be forced to raid their capital expenditure budgets – meaning less money for the maintenance and the upkeep of schools – or their recurrent budget, which could impact the number of teachers in classrooms. 

The LMBR program – which impacts everything from how rolls are marked to how principals ensure power bills get paid – has already cost $573 million, is $90 million over budget, six months late and has only been rolled out to one in ten schools. 

The final cost is reported to be anywhere up to $1 billion. 

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley 

“It’s time for Mike Baird to step in and clean up Adrian Piccoli’s mess – tell us how much this epic disaster is actually going to cost and tell us what school budgets will be cut to pay for it.” 

“The Baird Government’s refusal to admit the total cost blowout of the LMBR program is absurd: it’s nothing more than the Premier running a protection racket for his flailing Education Minister.” 

“Adrian Piccoli’s claim that cabinet decisions are by their very nature confidential is preposterous – cabinet decisions, as opposed to cabinet discussions, are almost always revealed to the voting public.” 

“The longer Mike Baird lets Adrian Piccoli cover up this mess, the more the Premier treats NSW taxpayers with absolute contempt.” 

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Education Linda Burney  

“NSW taxpayers have a right to know how big a bill they’ll be footing and what it is going to mean for their local schools.”  

“Mike Baird needs to explain what schools might be forced to sacrifice – upkeep, teacher numbers, class sizes – to pay for this disastrous IT program.”  

“Parents and students should not be the ones who have to pay for this Government’s mess.”