St Johns misses first round of infrastructure funding


first_imgOnly two of the three Greek Independent day schools have managed to secure funding from the Federal Government’s National School Pride (NSP) first round $828.16 million handout. Whilst both Alphington Grammar and Oakleigh Greek Orthodox College were granted the maximum funding amount of $200,000 for school infrastructure projects, St Johns College principal, Helen Symeonakis said the funding process was “too rushed”, and as a result, she did not apply.“It would have been fairer if it was not rolled out so quickly. We had to work out what to spend on and this took time,” she said. St Johns College will not miss out on the grant as the school has applied for second round funding to improve building infrastructure, which is likely to be approved within months. “Never in my teaching career have we had such an opportunity so I am in many ways thankful and we are looking forward to improving our buildings and facilities for the benefits of the students.”According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, all schools deserved funding from the $1.3 billion program, which aims to deliver support for minor infrastructure, school refurbishment projects and stimulate local jobs.Yet Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos, told ABC radio that needy state schools had missed out in the first round of funding, and that he was, “surprised and disappointed” to learn elite private schools were included in the first funding round.“The first round exposes that it hasn’t been well-targeted, and with respect to this first program, it beggars belief that schools with lavish buildings, lavish facilities, would be on the top of the list when other schools with greater need aren’t on the list,” he argued.Deputy Education Union President, Mary Bluett further defended the union’s stance when NKEE posed to her that more than 60% of state schools were in actual fact recipients of the funding by saying that, “The money that schools will receive depends on the number of students are enrolled. Even within the public system. a school that was built last year will attract the same amount of money as a school down the road with a real need for additional funding, therefore it would be much better to target those schools who need it the most.”Steve Charisis, principal of Oakleigh Greek Orthodox College, believes that state schools are not the only ones in need of funding.“Just because you are an independent school, it does not mean that you are a wealthy school. As a low-fee paying independent school, we are competing with state schools that have received massive funding from the State Government that we have not. We can espouse great teaching and learning programs but one of the most important things that people look at are a schools’ facilities and classrooms. Now thanks to Mr Rudd, we are able to upgrade our facilities in the next three to six months instead of in five years time”.Alphington Grammar’s school business manager, Manuel Pappos, who plans to use the funds to upgrade the primary school playground, supports the government’s rational behind the NSP, by saying that, “The purpose of the funding is to stimulate the economy. We will be spending on constructing new areas which will not only benefit our students but create jobs for contractors which otherwise would not have been created”. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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