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Missing millions

More needed: Leongatha Secondary College assistant principal Greg Ellt (centre) takes Education Minister Martin Dixon (left) and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan (right) through the education precinct building site recently. The tour also included Leongatha Primary School principal Rob Higgins (standing behind Mr Dixon), along with TS Construction’s project manager Mark Patterson (standing next to Mr Ryan) and college teacher Matt McPhee. Photo courtesy of Jamie Cummins, Leongatha Secondary College.

LEONGATHA Secondary College will fall $3m to $4m short of what it needs to complete building works at the education precinct site, principal Brett Windsor said.

The school made an impassioned plea to Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Education Minister Martin Dixon for the cash when the pair paid a recent visit. But no money will arrive in the short term. Neither has the State Government made any promises for future funds.

“The job’s not finished. That was the point we tried to put across to Martin Dixon and Peter Ryan. The impact that not finishing has on the school is quite significant, even to the point where this building (the old part of the school, where Mr Windsor and the school’s administration staff work) is not listed to be demolished,” he said.

The money for the demolition is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which means it would stay until money was provided for the work. Mr Windsor fears it will become an easy target for vandals.

Money has been shaved from the original plan to put Mr Windsor and his administration staff closer to the students, lest they be “left like shags on a rock”.

In May last year The Star reported that the State Budget had delivered $10m to rebuild LSC, with the money to come in two bites of $5m. For Mr Windsor it was a case of not looking a gift horse in the mouth. Ten million dollars was music to his ears, even if it wasn’t going to finishing the job.

“The reality is that when the budget was announced and we got the money we weren’t going to say, where’s the rest of it? You’re obviously going to take it, but it was short a few million – probably four,” he said.

“I haven’t been hopeful at all that we would get the extra money, certainly not in the past 18 months. It seems less and less likely that it’s going to happen, especially with the lack of capital works funding that is happening at the moment.”

A question emailed to Mr Dixon Can the school expect any extra funds to help finish its building works? was referred to a spokeswoman, who said: “The government must responsibly balance and prioritise the needs of over 1500 government schools in Victoria.”
“State Budget constraints do not allow for all school infrastructure needs to be immediately funded, but the government is working towards developing a long term capital works pipeline that will provide much needed transparency and certainty for government school building works into the future,” she said.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=7173

Posted by on May 21 2013. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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