I would implore James Merlino to announce straight away we are going to get the funding immediately to be able to build the new school. We have been waiting for a long time for this. We deserve it – the students deserve it, the families deserve it, the wh
“Time has gone on and several principals have come and gone; now it’s my turn. Hopefully soon it will be our chance.”
Assistant principal Ben Ridge said it was unfortunate the school did not receive funding in this year’s state budget.
“Which is really disappointing because the inclusion opportunities that would have happened were unable to,” he said.
“It’s really disappointing for our students.
“We do have fantastic programs at our school but the facilities are not purpose built and we’re really relying on that funding to give the students, staff and the community what they need and that is the new school.”
Mr Ridge worked at Echuca South Primary School – one of two schools already in the Twin Rivers School – before joining the specialist school two years ago.
“Obviously I am aware of the challenges over the past 10 years and have been actively involved in the past five years in the planning phase and was hoping it would be a smooth transition to the new site but obviously we have been left out.
“We are really looking forward to giving the kids the opportunity of the inclusive option at Twin Rivers.”
Mr Ridge said the specialist school community was strong but feeling hurt.
“We’re the only specialist school in this area – people have to travel to Swan Hill, Shepparton or Bendigo (otherwise) but it's quite challenging to keep the staff and students upbeat because we are reliant on that funding,” he said.
“We did have quite a few students come in when they heard the news who were quite upset.
“We had to explain there was a process.
“Inclusive education is really important and we really need the funding to support our students and community moving forward and giving them the best opportunities.
“The community support has been amazing … we’ve had numerous people volunteer their time and money to provide services to our students which has been really lovely.”