Minister taking heat over lack of cooling
By HELEN JACK
LANCE KIRKLEY is determined that students of Old Bonalbo School will not suffer another stifling summer.
As school council president, Mr Kirkley has pleaded with NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Refshauge to reassess the school's eligibility for airconditioning under its Air Cooling Program.
"We fully understand the 30-degree criterion used to evaluate school classroom eligibility for funding under the program," he said.
"But what we are questioning is the method used to set the mean January temperature for Old Bonalbo Primary School, which falls at 29.5 degrees Celsius."
The NSW Department of Education and Training has calculated Old Bonalbo's mean January temperature from Bureau of Meteorology measurements taken at Casino and Tenterfield.
In a speech to State Parliament last month, Lismore MP Thomas George said staff at the school and parents in the town had recorded daily temperatures, proving temperatures were well above the required average.
"I get telephone calls every day during summer from parents telling me the schools (Old Bonalbo and Bonalbo Central) are so hot children cannot concentrate," he said.
"The parents are trying to raise funds to buy air-conditioning equipment, but they need the Minister's support."
Mr Kirkley said the local community had been relentless in its efforts to raise the necessary raise funds.
"We are now able to report that we have amassed more than one-third of the $16,000 needed to provide complete summer and winter temperature control at the school, thereby reducing the ask from the Government to $10,000," he said.