District schools share in Budget windfall

PRINCIPAL at Casino Public School Margie Hayes is a former student of the school. She remembers attending assembly in the same school hall, and classes in the same buildings in which she now addresses her students.

However, the hall and some classrooms will soon be replaced thanks to new funding to upgrade the school in this week's State budget - and Ms Hayes isn't a bit nostalgic.

While the dollar value of the work has not yet been disclosed, Ms Hayes said the money would be put toward building a new hall, and library, replacing old classrooms, upgrading the special education unit and building special project rooms.

Wyrallah Road Public School will also receive a cut of the $11.8 billion set aside for schools and TAFE colleges in the budget.

"This is really exciting and wonderful for Casino Public School, and it's also a positive thing for the community in terms of providing employment opportunities," Ms Hayes said.

The school, which was established in 1860, has outgrown its facilities to the point where students can no longer have assembly in their hall.

Instead, every five weeks they must walk through the town to the Civic Hall for a full school assembly.

Ms Hayes said while walking through town was always a nice excursion, having assemblies on school grounds would help unite the school community.

Deputy Principal Sharon Bain said the school had been applying for upgrade funding for years and it was great to know it was finally on its way.

While Mrs Bain said the upgraded facilities would help kids learn, teachers at the school were 'so good they could teach their students under a tree and still get quality outcomes'.

Establishing an Aboriginal meeting and resource room would also be covered by the funding bill and used for the families of Aboriginal students to meet.

Ms Hayes said that with a growing number of Aboriginal children enrolled at the school, nurturing the relationship between the school and the local Aboriginal community was vital.

"Historically the Aboriginal population hasn't always benefited from education and I think it's important we give the best chance to every child and build partnerships based on respect," she said.

"We are fortunate in Casino to have elders who can pass their wisdom onto Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children."

Funding for education was increased by the NSW Labor Government by 5.5 per cent from last year and includes $267 million to repair buildings and facilities at educational institutions and $733 million toward building new schools and TAFE facilities.

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