DEPUTY Premier and Member for Gippsland South, Peter Ryan, jumped the gun on the State Budget yesterday by announcing that Korumburra Secondary College would receive a major funding boost in today’s 2014-15 Victorian State Budget.
And in so doing, he gave the all-clear to local college principal, Abby Graham, to give her teachers the good news.
“I told the staff this morning and they all cheered. They’re over the moon,” Ms Graham said.
“The school council has been working hard for several years to secure funding for a new school for the Korumburra community and this will get things started.
“Our priority is to replace the oldest buildings in the school, the science and technology buildings which have been there since 1958.
“The ceilings are depressingly low and the buildings themselves are starting to sink.
“It’s important that our students feel proud of their school and when they see other schools getting good facilities, it’s reasonable that they should expect the same.
“I’d like to say that having great people in your school is the most important thing but the reality is that parents want to see that their kids are getting the best education and that comes down to facilities as well.
“These are exciting times for the Korumburra Secondary College and the Korumburra community.”
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Government would invest $5 million to enable Korumburra Secondary College to complete a master plan and begin initial construction works.
“This $5 million investment is a win for the Korumburra Secondary College’s 400 students and their families, teachers, staff and the broader school community,” Mr Ryan said.
“We as a community have long argued that this funding is desperately needed, and to announce this today, as the local Member of Parliament, I am incredibly proud.”
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Mr Ryan said parents, teachers and the broader school community would have significant input in determining how the funding would be spent.
They are however likely to confirm that the science and technology area will be the first to be rebuilt.
Ms Graham is hopeful that the rest will follow in quick succession.
“As a first step, a master plan will be developed enabling the project to be fully costed. By investing an initial $5 million, stage one works can then proceed immediately following the completion of the master plan,” Mr Ryan said.
“There is a pressing need to upgrade schools maths and science classrooms, which are well below acceptable standards, and I am confident that work will be undertaken as part of the first stage of the redevelopment.
“The remainder of funding to complete the master plan will be delivered under a Liberal Nationals Coalition Government in coming Budgets.”
Mr Ryan, who has visited the Korumburra Secondary College many times over recent years, said the project was long overdue.
“Securing funding for Korumburra Secondary College has been high on my list of local priorities,” Mr Ryan said.
“For 11 years the former Labor Government failed to provide the necessary funding needed to rebuild the Korumburra Secondary College, despite many and repeated requests from myself and the broader community.
“The Liberal Nationals Coalition Government recognised Labor’s lack of investment in regional schools, including at Korumburra, and that is why we funded an extensive maintenance audit of every school in Victoria.”
“The audit found more than $420 million of urgent works was needed to bring our schools up to an acceptable standard.
“We are getting on with the job of delivering better schools right across regional and rural Victoria as part of our strategy to boost education in Victoria.
“Delivering modern school infrastructure is vital if we are to create a truly world-class school system here in Victoria.”
Wonthaggi and Leongatha
Mr Ryan said he couldn’t say if Wonthaggi Secondary College would get a mention in today’s budget, choosing to leave that to Ken Smith but he did say Leongatha could expect an important announcement for a long-awaited project.