If you're a parent of a public school student who's paying for all the extras like excursions, laptops or more books for the library you might question the idea that public schools are free. But the idea of school fees for public education has proven to be politically unviable.
A leaked discussion paper from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet sets out four possible scenarios for school funding. One scenario, that wealthy parents pay a fee for public schools, has already been ruled out by the federal government. The other three scenarios still up for consideration propose major changes to the balance of responsibility for schools between the States and the federal government.
Given the exhaustive Gonski Review process, further changes to the way schools are funded are of concern, especially to State governments who already face a funding shortfall after 2017.