STILL NO MERLINO
JAMES MERLINO COUNTDOWN WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR ECHUCA SPECIALIST SCHOOL.
JAMES Merlino is standing fast on his refusal to commit to a date to visit the dilapidated Echuca Specialist School.
It has been 66 days since the school was shunned in the Victorian budget and the Education Minister can still not commit to visiting the school and its disappointed students. But he insists it will be ‘‘soon’’. “We know more work needs to be done at Echuca Specialist School and we will finish what we started,’’ Mr Merlino said.
“Urgent sewerage works are almost complete and I look forward to visiting the school soon.’’
A typical political war of words is now playing out over funding the school after the Coalition promised to kick in $11 million to get Echuca Specialist School to Twin Rivers School.
Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh and Shadow Education Minister Tim Smith announced the funding last week but Mr Merlino said they are all talk.
“The Coalition are all talk when it comes to school funding,’’ he said.
‘‘What we know is that when they were in government they ripped $1 billion from our schools and they will cut funding again if they get the chance.’’
Mr Smith called the state of the school “simply unacceptable” on his recent visit and said the students and their teachers deserved better.
Mr Merlino’s office told the Riv the Victorian School Building Authority is working closely with Echuca Spe- cialist School and with the owners of the property to rectify the sewerage issues.
The works were meant to be operational by close of business today.
‘‘There will be a site presence into early next week for site clean-up, but the system will be operational,’’ Mr Merlino’s office said.
‘‘We will continue to work with schools, including Echuca Specialist School, on their infrastructure needs and will consider future funding as part of the usual budget processes.’’
When the Riv asked Mr Merlino’s office whether the government was planning to reverse its decision to not fund the school, it did not receive a direct answer.
The school’s quiet space was due to be completed today thanks to Rock Solid Gardening Supplies with students due back after the school holidays on Monday.