AEU Welcomes School Concessions10-08-2007
AEU SA President Andrew Gohl says the Union and the Government have achieved a major breakthrough in issues of significant concern to the future of public education.
This is a victory for our children‚ and a massive victory for our members‚ Mr Gohl says.
Chief amongst them is the government's pledge not to strip funds earned on interest bearing accounts if schools spend those funds as intended on students in a given year.
The AEU has always supported the notion of schools spending the funds as intended instead of squirrelling them away‚ but at the same time strongly opposed the idea of stripping funds from those schools who were doing the right thing.
The government's decision not to strip money from schools that spend funds as intended is a victory for commonsense‚ Mr Gohl says.
Mr Gohl welcomes the Department's decision to maintain at current levels the amount that schools pay the Department for Temporary Relief Teachers.
Doubling the payback rate would have been crippling for some schools - the current system is fair and we're glad it remains unchanged.
DECS has also shown its preparedness to look after the interests of teachers by announcing there will be no extra financial cost in placing surplus teachers‚ and in improving their case management and professional development.
In another significant concession‚ the 45 km rule‚ limiting the maximum distance teachers travel each day is not increasing to 70 kms - it remains unchanged.
Meanwhile the AEU is especially pleased by the agreement reached in relation to energy efficiencies in schools. Most public schools have met energy efficiency targets and are leading the way in environmental responsibility. We support initiatives that work for the greater social good and believe that setting 'green' targets makes sound environmental sense and is an investment in the community.
The day will come when a grassy green oval will symbolise selfish consumption and environmental vandalism‚ a point that indulgent private schools would be well advised to remember.
Finally we welcome the shift in attitude shown by DECS and hope it heralds a new era of cooperation between the education community and the government. It is heartening that DECS has also announced that efficiencies achieved in the central office avoid the need for immediate cuts that would affect student learning.
There are still some matters outstanding - resolving concerns about instrumental music teaching and concerns surrounding permanent relieving teachers - but we believe if the Department continues its constructive‚ positive attitude then it will be victory all round; for students‚ teachers and the government‚ Mr Gohl says.