Shepparton community must demand answers on super school
21 May 2019
The Shepparton community needs to ask the tough questions of the Andrews Government and its local member about how their plans to merge the town’s schools will impact on resourcing, staffing and class sizes.
The warning comes after the Benalla community was shocked to discover two weeks ago that the school’s budget was being cut by 10 per cent after the school’s senior students were relocated onto a single site this year.
The Nationals Deputy Leader Steph Ryan said teachers had been warned of job losses, program cuts and increased class sizes as a result of the funding changes caused by the closure of Benalla College’s Barkly St campus.
“It worries me greatly that the Andrews Government and the local member have pushed a plan on the Shepparton community with only a fraction of the funding required to see it through.
“When the Benalla community agreed to merge two high schools and three primary schools into a single school in 2007, the then Labor government promised that it would completely rebuild the school’s campus.
“After 12 years, only the first stage of the school’s rebuild has been completed and now the school has been informed that its operating budget is being reduced by 10 per cent because of the closure of one of its campuses.
“These budget cuts were never discussed with the community at the time and now they have come to light, the Education Minister says it’s due to a funding formula.
“I can’t see how the same funding formula would not apply to the Shepparton super school.
“I think it’s absolutely vital that the Shepparton community demand answers from their local member and the Andrews Labor Government about what this will mean for class sizes, teaching positions and resourcing.
“If projects like Benalla are anything to go by, the community would also be well advised to ask the government to show them the money before agreeing to sign up.
“The fact that Labor has put just $20 million in the budget, and most of it far off in the forward estimates, for a project which is expected to cost more than $100 million, should be a huge red flag,” Ms Ryan said.