SA ICPA State Council Delegation
Posted on August 9, 2018
On the Wednesday, Belinda and Lynly met with Open Access College Principal Julie Taylor. Motions 5 & 6 regarding SOTA becoming an autonomous school was discussed. Julie was supportive of any cooperation required with the Department of Education if the process proceeds further, and did not speak much further on the matter other than to say she is understanding of good outcomes for our students and appreciates that is all both parties want.
In relation to Motion 7 we asked Julies advice regarding the best way to seek extra support for SOTA face to face events before tomorrow’s meetings. Julie explained where funds are drawn from to assist with transport costs for families and encouraged us to seek an increase in the ‘host schools’ funding, as this funding has not been increased for some time and is being stretched beyond capacity with the increasing number of SOTA families. SA ICPA will continue to investigate along this avenue with Karen Humphries believing the Ministers Department would be better to request clarification & extra support from.
Conversation regarding the overall status of SOTA was discussed quite in depth, with current issues raised and Julie being able to inform us that there was again no Head of Campus employed after the recent panel. This position will be readvertised for someone to hopefully fill the remaining semester while OAC seek to advertise outside of the normal scope of the department and consider offering a shorter term and extra incentives to secure a HOC. Julie discussed recent staff training which should see some positive changes towards the Moodle across the grades being more streamlined was one hopeful outcome and also hoping for an increased level of proficiency with grading work by our teachers.
Julie asked for parents and ICPA to continue to communicate positively with her on all issues raised now and in the future.
Wednesday night we all met for a superb dinner at Madame Hanoi’s on North Terrace, where we were joined by past state and federal councillor and ongoing ICPA advocate Joanna Gibson.
Wednesday evening Dinner at Madame Hanoi’s on North Tce.
L-R: Lisa Slade, Belinda Hatcher, Lynly Kerin, Joanna Gibson, Kerry Williams, Mija Reynolds.
Thursday began with a meeting with Karen Humphries, Assistant Director of Business Services at DECD. We raised Motions 2, 3 and 12 regarding the State Education Allowance and Travel Allowances. Karen Humphries had attended our State Conference and was well prepared for the meeting. The online form for the State Education Allowance has already been updated to include new information and is now PDF writable. Existing families will be emailed the form, where they can fill it in and return via email. This will ensure a record of the application and an email receipt, rather than posting it in and wondering if it was ever received! Karen will organise for some test emails to be sent to ensure it all works. Families can be back-paid for the entire calendar year if their application is received by Term 4.
We discussed moving the State Education Allowance to another department to allow for more scope for future increases, but in discussion it seems the allowance should remain with Transport Services. Currently $250 per annum of the State Education Allowance is drawn from a separate area within the budget, previously known as the Remote Travel Allowance. This is specifically intended for travel and we may be able to justify an increase to that portion of the allowance, given that $250 would not go far to cover travel costs for families with children at boarding school!
Karen suggested that we direct a letter to the Minister for Education and provide information about funding in other states.
The motion for increases to the car allowance rate is an ongoing process involving the Port Augusta Branch (who put the motion) and Mija Reynolds from Flinders Ranges Branch, working directly with Karen Humphries. They are looking at a proposal that would involve banding by distance, so families living further out would receive a higher rate. Increases to the car allowance rate is problematic because of the sheer number of families residing 5km or more from a school or bus route across the state who claim the allowance.
Mija also raised concerns about the future of the Wilpena to Hawker School Bus run, followed by a general discussion about funding for face to face events and school camps. Karen Humphries is very approachable and seems keen to assist our families wherever she can. It was wonderful to get her to our conference to gain a greater understanding of our unique community.
Department of Education meeting with Assistant Business Director, Karen Humphries regarding SEA and Car Allowance motions.
L-R: Lisa Slade, Kat Morris, Kerry W, Lynly K, Karen Humphries, Belinda H, Mija R.
After a break we returned to the DECD building to meet with Education Minister John Gardner and Minister for Energy and Mining and Member for Stuart Dan Van Holst Pellekaan. Also present was Chief Assistant to the Education Minister, Cheryl Bauer. Minister Dan has been an active ongoing supporter of ICPA and we appreciated his input at the meeting, as he fully understands where we are coming from!
The main item on the agenda was the request from members that ICPA be reinstated as an autonomous stand-alone school, Motions 5 and 6. Minister Gardner was very engaged with the meeting and seemed keen to address some of the issues raised as a matter of urgency, while a much longer process of the viability of SOTA becoming its own school is investigated. He is also willing to attend a community forum in Port Augusta at some stage. We will continue to seek updates on this issue as it progresses.
We discussed the concerns around the new Budget Based Funding model for RICE, and while acknowledging that funding amounts are expected to continue, the way RICE operates under this new model could see some services discontinued. This includes play days and drop-in style care facilities at race days and community events. Dan VHP was very interested in this aspect of the new funding and understands the impact this could have on the community, having attended countless outback community events. Minister Gardner advised that we keep Dan updated on how the service pans out over the coming months and he will pass this on to Minister Gardner, so he can assist us to “reduce the red tape while promoting fairness.” As well as the Federal funding, RICE receives $250K per annum from the State Government.
Meeting with Minister Gardner, his Chief Executive Assistant, Cheryl Bauer and Minister Dan VHP.
Although the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone, was unable to join us, we discussed the Supplementary Motion on the need for a primary industries tertiary training facility for the pastoral region. We were provided with contact details for Adam Guerin, Senior Project Officer at the Department for Industry and Skills. Minister Dan also suggested that we get in contact with Livestock SA.
Following the meeting we were chauffeured to Parliament House by Minister Dan’s driver, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch on the house!
Dinner at Parliament House
Thank you to those who took the time from busy schedules to attend these meetings and ensure that the concerns of our members have been heard by those who can act on them. We’d also like to thank the families who contributed further information and testimonials that were delivered directly to Minister Gardner - it really helps to have evidence of the support of the community when raising issues. We look forward to providing further updates during the year.