Funds for schools facing closure
TWO Southern Downs primary schools facing closure next year are still set to receive $600,000 under the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution program.
Tannymorel and Murray’s Bridge State School both have declining or low enrolments and were thrust into the spotlight under the Queensland Government’s latest school review.
They were among 15 schools throughout the state on the hit list to be mothballed as student numbers fall.
Under the Federal Government stimulus package Tannymorel State School will receive $300,000 for a resource centre, library refurbishment, eating area and painting.
Another $300,000 has been earmarked for Murray’s Bridge State School to be spent on a resource centre, floor coverings, school enhancement and eating areas.
Member for the Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg yesterday described the situation as “lunatic bureaucracy”.
“Common sense needs to prevail; if these schools are under review for closure then spending on them needs to be put on hold,” Mr Springborg said.
“These are good schools supported by strong communities and they need to be properly consulted before they are mothballed.
“Meanwhile if there is any doubt about their future, put the spending on hold until the issue is resolved.
“It is just common sense. Going ahead with any work at this point is just lunatic bureaucracy.”
Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott also criticised the government move to proceed with the funding.
He said he was constantly fielding concerns from parents and citizens groups worried about the wastefulness of the BER program.
“I’ve heard many stimulus package concerns from parents," Mr Scott said.
“So I’m not surprised to learn that $600,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent on 32 students in two schools which are marked for closure.”
He said funding education was crucial, but so was consultation with parents and teachers directly involved with schools and in the best position to understand the future direction and infrastructure needs of their community.
The Education Queensland department has defended the move to fund the schools.
The department said the schools were considered viable when the applications for funding were submitted.
Meanwhile Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Association Darling Downs spokesman Kevin Charlesworth said schools on the review list needed to be allowed to work through the consultation process.
“There is nothing to say these schools will definitely close,” Mr Charlesworth said.
“And it is important to remember these schools were not under review when BER funding was allocated.”