Fund our college
State government “wants to get the job done” and fund Mansfield Secondary College’s full redevelopment.
THE State Government has sent its strongest indication yet that Mansfield Secondary College (MSC) could receive funding to the tune of between $4-5 million in next May’s state budget.
The government has said it wants to get on with the job and fund the school’s Master Plan.
Last month MSC announced it would ask the State Government for between $4-5 million to rectify what the school considers are its most glaring issues.
The funds, if committed to MSC, will pay for a new indoor gymnasium, a modernised technology and art space and render the school’s ailing ‘B Block’ classrooms obsolete.
Labor upper house member Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) last week told the Mansfield Courier that the State Government “was not walking away” from MSC, and would fund the school’s full redevelopment.
“We have a commitment to get the job done, and I’m committed to making sure the community knows we won’t just move on from the initial funding,” Ms Symes said.
Declaring the sometimes “tick box” ethos of the political funding process which can lead to “halfbaked” projects as a concern, Ms Symes reiterated her commitment to ensuring MSC’s redevelopment is fully funded.
“I don’t like to operate in a situation where schools are given effectively hush money, and then we move onto the next one,” said Ms Symes.
“I want to make sure there’s a commitment from me that I haven’t put (Mansfield) in the done box.
“I haven’t moved on, I don’t want to half finish another school, and I want to finish Mansfield Secondary College.”
Cindy McLeish (MLA, Eildon) continues to push strongly for the next phase of MSC’s redevelopment, and says getting it all done at the one time makes sense.
“B Block absolutely needs to be de-commissioned as soon as possible,” said Ms McLeish.
“It is decades old and well past its use-by date.
“Mansfield is a great place to live, and to attract and retain families in the area we need to have quality education facilities and that quality education with your public school.”
The political efforts of Ms Symes, Ms McLeish and the school could soon pay off.
Ms Symes, who earlier this month visited MSC to discuss how the school’s plans are progressing, said she is working closely with the school to give it the best chance of receiving funding as soon as possible.
“I’m working with (MSC) on a plan to put the school in a good position for additional funding in budget rounds,” said Ms Symes. “We had a good strategy meeting. “I’m really impressed with the school, and it was fantastic that they had their school leaders in on the meeting.
“I had a very frank conversation with them about how to best position their efforts.”
The school, however, is no monty to receive funding in next May’s state budget.
But Ms Symes said she is currently trying to put MSC on the best path to do so.
“We have to try and work out whether we can be in a position for a budget next year, or the following,” she said.
Ms Symes said the Mansfield community and MSC has done the best job possible of lobbying for the local community and its students.
“It’s absolutely fantastic; one of the best things about MSC is the community connectedness of the school,” she said.
“We are really conscious of the school as a community asset.
“The school is doing everything right, but we’ve just got to make sure that it’s budget ready.”
In the meantime, MSC principal Tim Hall’s vision to have “no facilities left at the school that are sub-standard” is gaining momentum.
“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” said Ms Symes.
“I think that as a Labor government we’ve sent a very strong message that we are investing in your school, we’re interested in your outcomes, we like what you’re doing, and we want to get the job done.”
SYMES SUPPORT: Labor upper house member Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) has sent positive signals in Mansfield Secondary College’s direction.