Hard-working educators across the Riverina say planned funding cuts will hurt children in need.
A small army in bright green took to Bayliss street on Saturday to join in a country-wide call for the promised 2014 Gonkski funding to continue.
The fresh push comes as the iconic campaign bus tour arrived in the city, inspiring teachers, principals and parents alike to hop on board the protest.
The independent Gonski Review initially warned too many children were falling through the cracks due to a lack of resources. Schools that since received the promised Gonski funding have reported reduced class sizes, additional training, more specialist teachers and greater assistance for children with special needs.
Wagga teachers say the lack of resources is a daily struggle as some children who may need more attention fall behind their peers.
The campaign hopes to persuade the Turnbull Government to continue Gonski despite its plan to scrap the model later this year.
Wagga teacher Tara Lightfoot and her Fiance Sam Ryan said every child deserved the “fair and equal go” that Gonski provided.
“I’m struggling to be the best teacher I can be,” Ms Lightfoot said. “I’m tired. I’m overworked. I need [the funding], I really do.”
Ms Lightfoot said everyone had a stake in supporting the Gonksi funding model.
“Schools are the heart of the community,” she said. “Everyone knows someone in the school system.”
Teachers Janine Agzarian and Tracy Johnson said the one-third of the Gonsky money already distributed had done a lot of good in NSW but schools everywhere needed the final two-thirds to continue giving every student the chance to succeed.
However, Riverina MP Michael McCormack said the previous government had created the Gonski funding model without the finances to support it.
“We are putting more money into education than ever before,” Mr McCormack said. “And I think people need to be mindful of the fact that education is the responsibility of the state government.”
NSW Teachers Federation country organiser John Pratt said teachers were motivated daily to help every individual child.
“But they just can’t through a lack of resourcing,” Mr Pratt said. “It’s not a state-based responsibility – it’s our nation’s future.”