Northern Rivers' schools speak up

SCHOOLS in the Northern Rivers are making the most of the chance to have their say about the Federal Government’s $16.2 billion Building the Education Revolution stimulus scheme.

The main feeling in submissions to the NSW Senate inquiry into the measure is of frustration and anger.

Rosebank Public School has expressed outrage at the $850,000 being charged by Reeds for a 230sqm library it believes should have cost no more $316,000.

And the P&C association at Empire Vale Public School did not mince words in its submission.

While it is ‘extremely happy with some of the additions we’ve received’, it questions the gap between the ‘promises made and what was finally delivered’.

The school had been told its two air-conditioned demountable classrooms were to be replaced by one permanent double classroom with air-conditioning and an operable wall.

“We were surprised and not happy when the classroom arrived with a solid adjoining wall,” the submission, penned by P&C president Toni Caesar, said.

The school was also shocked to find it had been excluded from air-conditioning.

The Education Department’s excuse that the January mean temperature didn’t reach 30 degrees was ‘pathetic’, Ms Caesar said.

As to costs, ‘it is an absolute scam so much money has evaporated during the building period’, the submission said.

Rosebank school said its new building was delivered in September last year, but very little work had been carried out since. It is now scheduled to be open in August, nine months behind schedule.

Rosebank was also told its new building would not have air-conditioning.

However Byron Bay Public School is one satisfied customer.

P&C vice-president Lindsay Howarth said: “The project was slower than we thought it would be, but we understand that there is a lot of building going on.”

She added that the value of the work they were getting was more than the cost of construction. “There is the value in the infrastructure too,” she said.

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