Narracan Liberal MP Gary Blackwood has called for extra funding for kindergartens in regional communities.
“There is currently a mismatch between the operational costs of running a kindergarten and the funding allocated from state and federal governments,” Mr Blackwood said.
“Small regional kindergartens are the hardest hit by the disparity between operational costs and the often low number of students that attend a kindergarten.”
Mr Blackwood said he believed small rural kindergartens were struggling to cope with variations in student numbers from year to year.
He recently met with staff from Willow Grove Kindergarten, one of several local kindergartens facing issues with funding operational costs.
“This year (Willow Grove Kinder) has 12 children in its four-year-old program and faces a deficit of more than $10,000”, he said.
“Next year 19 children are already enrolled but the following year it is projected there will be far fewer students, again leaving a difficult deficit to cover.”
Mr Blackwood said families were being asked to pay large contributions and volunteer time to cover staffing and mainteniance needs at the school.
“Parents who rely on Willow Grove Kindergarten pay $1,100 to send their children for the year,” he said.
“They also go on a roster to help undertake cleaning and ground maintenance duties to keep operational costs of the kindergarten to a minimum.”
Mr Blackwood said addressing the issue of operational funding would provide security to regional kindergartens and allow them to deliver outstanding service.
“Funding that reflects the true cost of running a kindergarten program in these small rural kindergartens and takes into account the burden only a small number of parents have to share is essential if these programs are going to continue to be delivered in country Victoria,” he said.