After more than ten years of planning and lobbying, Yarrawonga College P-12’s perseverance has been rewarded with a state government funding commitment of $7.616 million.FIONA BLICK May 6, 2014 3:02pm
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education Peter Ryan travelled to Yarrawonga last Thursday to make the announcement with Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy.
Mr Ryan said it was an important time in the school’s history and, from his point of view, “my ultimate purpose is to give these students the best possible opportunities”.
“I am very conscious there are many deficiencies in the buildings here at present,” Mr Ryan said.
“The school’s governing body has been extremely responsible in how they have pursued this funding, which is ultimately in the best interests of the young people.
“To the staff, I respect what you do and the hard work and dedication you have for this school and now you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labours.”
Mr Ryan also made the commitment for the school to decide how to spend the funds.
“You are in the best position to determine how to spend it,” he said.
Yarrawonga College P-12 had been identified as a priority for capital works funding in a recent maintenance audit of every school in Victoria.
“The government invested an initial $260,000 at Yarrawonga College P-12 in 2013 to address the critical maintenance needs identified in the audit,” Mr Ryan said.
“The $7.616 million we are providing in this budget will include an allocation of $625,000 to further address those critical maintenance needs identified in the audit.”
School council president Carolyn O’Dwyer said the words ‘thank you’ didn’t really express how grateful she was to the deputy premier for this funding announcement.
“We don’t see allocations of this sort of money very often, however our children are certainly worth every penny,” she said.
“For public education and the town of Yarrawonga this is just a fantastic amount.
“I would like to thank our local member Tim McCurdy for his efforts.
“He has been 110% behind our school; he has been fighting our cause for us.”
Mr McCurdy said this was a “sensational day for Yarrawonga”.
“I have been involved with this project since I was a Moira Shire councillor and I am just as excited as the staff and pupils,” he said.
“Principal Kim Stewart and Carolyn O’Dwyer have sought out every opportunity to present their case for the need for this funding.
“Congratulations to the school, staff, students and parents; this investment will further strengthen the educational opportunities in our region.”
Moira Shire Mayor Peter Mansfield said he was also thrilled with this announcement.
“As an ex-student of this school in the 60s, I had a fantastic education here and I have watched this school grow over the years,” Cr Mansfield said.
“I want to congratulate all involved, particularly Tim McCurdy who handles his position as Member for Murray Valley with dignity and aplomb.”
College Principal Kim Stewart said this announcement would enable the college to fully complete stage two of its development, consolidating the primary and secondary school campuses up to year 8 in one location at the Gilmore Street site.
Once the primary campus has been moved in its entirety, the land and buildings at the old Piper Street site will be sold and the proceeds will be used to incorporate years 9 to 12 on the Gilmore Street campus.
“I want to thank Tim McCurdy for his advocacy, Minister Ryan for his support and funding commitment and Carolyn O’Dwyer on her tireless work for the school as a whole,” Ms Stewart said.
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