Epsom parents want more school funding

CONCERNED: Robert Grant and MP Jacinta Allan at Epsom Primary School. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

CONCERNED: Robert Grant and MP Jacinta Allan at Epsom Primary School. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

EPSOM Primary School is unsafe, has a rat problem and the roofs regularly leak, says school council president Robert Grant.

Mr Grant is circulating a petition to the state government requesting additional funding for the school.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan is supporting the school council's cause.

Mr Grant said 90 per cent of the school's infrastructure consisted of portable buildings, which were an "ad hoc" solution to a growing student population. 

"Because of their nature they're leaking and we've had vermin attacks," he said.

"Our multipurpose area, which is a library-cum-assembly room-cum-kitchen has a leak that cannot be repaired."

Mr Grant said the school was close to a creek and a fence about half-a-metre high was all that separated children from it.

He said the student population had grown from about 80 in 2009 to 204 today.

He said he would like the government to fund permanent brick buildings, rather than relying on portable ones, and build a better fence.

Ms Allan said Epsom was a growing area and student numbers were expected to rise sharply in coming years.

She said the school had been "left behind" and the government did not have a transparent method of deciding which schools received funding.

But a spokeswoman for Education Minister Martin Dixon said portable buildings were used to accommodate schools' fluctuating student populations. 

"The Victorian Coalition has delivered $1.1 billion for school infrastructure since coming to office, including a total of 23 new schools for communities in growth areas across the state," she said.

"There are schools whose maintenance needs are greater than the capital funding invested in them in over a decade of Labor."

Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley said he had met parents and staff of the primary school and had concerns about the safety of the school.

He said he had raised the council's concerns with the government. "I'm absolutely very active in fighting for the best outcomes for this school," he said.

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