Kalianna gets 4200 supporters

Kalianna Special School representatives present a petition with 4200 signatures to Labor leader Daniel Andrews.
Kalianna Special School representatives present a petition with 4200 signatures to Labor leader Daniel Andrews.

KALIANNA Special School will continue to push the state government for more funding after the tender process for school works was finalised on Thursday.

The school community gathered 4200 signatures on a petition pushing for a rebuild of the 225-student school, tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.

The state government provided $346,379 for maintenance works to replace leaking toilets, classroom doors and other pressing needs.

Builders would be on site within a fortnight to begin preliminary works.

Kalianna Special School council president Greg Ralph said the community would "continue campaigning" to have the school rebuilt.

"The funding is just a stop-gap really," he said.

"We have to find $100,000 per year to keep up with ongoing maintenance costs.

"By the government's own admission, 33 per cent of the school is unfit for purpose."

Kalianna was grouped with four other Bendigo schools as part of a combined tender process.

Builders would be on site at Quarry Hill Primary School within two weeks to begin almost $1 million in maintenance works, along with $61,000 at Eaglehawk Secondary College, $60,000 for Inglewood Primary School and $33,100 at Axedale Primary School.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards tabled the petition in Parliament and was confident Labor leader Daniel Andrews would visit Kalianna Special School before the upcoming State Election.

She said the delay in the maintenance works was "unacceptable".

Parents, grandparents and carers of students gathered the signatures in recent months through doorknocking and from setting up in front of Long Gully IGA.

Mr Ralph said the 4200 signatures was not just a small minority of the community and congratulated those involved.

"As just one example, the school has no large undercover play area," he said.

"I can't think of any other schools that don't have an area like that."

A spokesperson for Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon said the state's Auditor-General found the maintenance program delivered the first evidence-based picture of school maintenance needs.


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