HURTING: Borilla Community Kindergarten kids with   director Jenny Findlay,  Mayor Kerry Hayes, kindy president Laura Bridgeman and Gregory MP Lachlan Millar discuss the government's funding cuts.
HURTING: Borilla Community Kindergarten kids with director Jenny Findlay, Mayor Kerry Hayes, kindy president Laura Bridgeman and Gregory MP Lachlan Millar discuss the government's funding cuts. Contributed

Kindy funding cuts hurt inclusion for bush kids

CHANGES to kindergarten funding for vulnerable children and children with additional needs were announced on August 1 and are completely unacceptable, Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar said.

"It is unheard of to cut funding two-thirds of the way through a school year.,” he said.

"To do so in a way that leaves community kindies to raise tens of thousands of dollars to cover the shortfall or to exclude the children most needing their service is simply disgusting.”

Central Highlands kindergartens were told last week the Queensland Government had changed the basis on which eligible children receive funding under the Kindergarten Inclusion Subsidy Scheme.

In a surprise decision scheme funding was changed at the start of the month from a child-centred model to a capped "service” model.

The changes mean approved budgets for the 2019 school year have been left in disarray as kindies are told they will not receive the funding that children are eligible for under the new scheme's model.

The change will leave Emerald's Borilla Kindergarten with a budget deficit of nearly $40,000 despite having approved budgets and being two-thirds of the way through the school year.

The only way to avoid the deficit will be to immediately reduce kindergarten hours for children with high needs, but kindergarten director Jenny Findlay believes that will be devastating for the children and their families.

"This is not a budget error affecting just one country kindergarten,” Mr Millar said.

"It is a state-wide policy that has been announced with no consultation.”

Mr Millar was joined by Mayor Kerry Hayes and Central Highlands Regional Council councillors at Borilla Kindergarten this week to discuss the impact of the cuts with kindy committee members and staff.

"Children at this age are often receiving their first assessments and diagnosis for developmental delays and learning disabilities,” Cr Hayes said.

"In country Queensland we don't have access to serv- ices like AEIOU, so our kindergartens play a vital role. These cuts will be devastating for those families.”