Kim O’KEEFFE (Shepparton) (19:04): (43) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Education, and I ask her to fully fund stage 1 and commit to stage 2 of the development and relocation of the Shepparton Verney Road School to the former Wanganui school site. The $24.8 million funded for stage 1 is not enough. The school has been told that increasing building costs, as well as the cost of $400,000 to clear and prepare the site, has left the school short of realising the full stage 1 plans that they were promised.
The school has been told that they will need to reduce the number of classrooms in stage 1, which would mean not all primary school students would be able to move to the new site in late 2024. This is something the school could not manage, and it should not be negotiable. They must have all the primary school students move at the one time. Stage 2 funding is critical to ensure the completion of the relocation of the school and to have all the students on one site, including the secondary school students.
The school has also been told that they would not receive the quantity of hoists they require due to cost escalations. This is a school with students with special needs. It is appalling to think the required equipment is also not being fully funded as promised. The current location is no longer fit for purpose. It was designed to accommodate 75 students. There are now 250 students at the school and this number is continuing to grow. There are also 119 staff.
Unsafe access is another issue. There is no street parking out the front of the school, caused by upgrades, roadworks and a school bus exchange. This is causing anxiety and stress to families, students and staff. Students are having to walk at least 50 metres to traffic lights. This is a difficult task for many students and for their families and carers to manage. This is a wonderful school that wants to provide the very best of education, care and support to its students. The students, their families and staff deserve better. They deserve a future plan, a safe, stable environment and fully functional and appropriate facilities, not uncertainty with only half the school partially funded and a jigsaw project with missing pieces and total disruption.