No way home
Tatong children will lose their seats on the school bus next year because the Victorian Government has refused requests to provide a larger one.
At least four families from the Tatong area will no longer be able to access the bus next year, which Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said was ‘‘just wrong’’.
‘‘Unfortunately, based on eligibility, some of the Tatong students will be the first to be removed to accommodate increased numbers (enrolling at Greta),’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘I do not believe the criteria has taken into account the fact that Swanpool and Baddaginnie campuses of Peranbin Primary School combine to spend one week in Swanpool and the next at Baddaginnie, 27 km further away.’’
A number of families moved to the area years ago, when Tatong Primary School was open, with the hopes of enrolling their children there.
But since the school’s closure, the families have sent their children to the next closest, Greta Valley Primary School.
Liz Wood, whose seven-yearold is enrolled at Greta Valley, said the Department of Education was not trying to understand the community’s problems.
‘‘Tatong is much closer to Greta, and it makes sense for us to go there, but the DoE is ruling to the letter of the law that they can’t help us,’’ she said.
Larissa Montgomery, who has two children at Greta Valley, said affected parents had been proactive in trying to come up with a solution.
‘‘The school (Greta) has gone above and beyond to be working with the parents, and have put forward submissions to the Minister of Education (James Merlino),’’ Ms Montgomery said.
‘‘The bus operator even offered to go an extra 5 km a day for free to ensure that those kids can get on the bus each day.’’
Ms Ryan said a larger school bus was also requested, but denied because the current bus was only 10 years old.
‘‘The need for a bigger bus is clear ... (but) a simple route extension will ensure that no students are left without a bus,’’ she said.
Parent Emma Cavalot said if nothing changed, she would have to approach her employer to change her work hours just so she could ensure her young children could get to and from school each day.
The changes are due to come in to effect on January 1.
Transport dilemma: Tatong parents stand with their children outside the school bus stop on the corner of Molyullah-Tatong and Kilfeera roads. The children will lose their seats on the bus next year if an alternative route is not found.