THEY are two retired school teachers passionate about public education.
Their bright green van declares "I give a Gonski" and last Thursday they brought their message to Wingham High School.
Bob Seltin and Frank Barnes want to make as many people aware of the Gonski funding review before casting their vote at the federal elections. They have been driving all term and visited towns across the northern regions of the state to spread their message. As Frank handed out green shirts to staff and offered badges and stickers to students, Bob spoke of his concerns for educational funding.
Bob said the big concern is that with the election comes the threat that current funding agreements will change. The Australian Education Bill was passed in June and with it a plan for an additional $10 billion funding for schools over a six year period.
"Tony Abbott wants to reduce this from six years down to four," said Bob who points out that the bulk of the funding would come in the last two years. "This means schools will only be getting $2.8 billion over four years."
According to Bob and the website igiveagonski.com.au, WHS stands to receive an additional $4 million over the six years. But Tony Abbott's plan would see WHS receive only one third of this figure said Bob.
Gary Dunbier, English head teacher and staff representative of WHS helped coordinate the Gonski van visit. "It is very important for Wingham High School to secure the Gonski funding," he said.
Figures are available on igiveagonski.com.au for all public schools. Other local allocation of funding if the six year plan is supported would give Wingham Public School more than $1.6 million and Wingham Brush more than $1.4 million in additional funding in the six year period.