Fresh school funding draws ire about Warrnambool Special Developmental School funding hold-up

Jo Taylor, Shirlene Ball, Georgina Block, with daughter Zoe Block, Kate Darmanin and Emily Reeves are launched a campaign called 'Every Child' to push the Warrnambool SDS project. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Jo Taylor, Shirlene Ball, Georgina Block, with daughter Zoe Block, Kate Darmanin and Emily Reeves are launched a campaign called 'Every Child' to push the Warrnambool SDS project. Picture: Christine Ansorge

A Warrnambool Special Developmental School (SDS) group campaigning for a new school to be funded have urged the Premier Daniel Andrews not to forget them.

The plea came after the premier announced $3.16 million for building upgrades for Northcote Primary School in Melbourne.

The premier said his government had listened to the community’s calls for an upgrade to the school and had acted.

The funding will be used to upgrade buildings at the 142-year old school, including the development of a masterplan and construction costs.

A spokeswoman from Every Child – an SDS parent and community group set up to push for funding – said it was great there was money available for emergencies.

“We hope Mr Andrews remembers the Warrnambool Special Development School and their urgent needs very soon,” she said.

“It is also pleasing to see that the government is listening to the needs of the children.”

South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said after the move, the premier had no excuse not to fully fund a new SDS.

"Today a primary school in Northcote, in Melbourne's northern suburbs, had significant funding committed –outside the regular budget cycle," Mrs Britnell said.

"This is new money, not listed in the state budget handed down in May, but this school just happens to be in an electorate where an election is about to be contested between Labor and The Greens.

"Daniel Andrews said the funding would mean students would no longer have to sit in classrooms that are falling apart.

"Meanwhile, students with disabilities at the Warrnambool Special Developmental School are still having to put up with classrooms that are too small, have no space to kick a footy and a library that can't be accessed by children in wheelchairs.”

The SDS is waiting to be given state government funding to begin construction of a new school at a spacious Wollaston Road site.

Earlier this year Education Minister James Merlino visited the SDS and promised to introduce measures to alleviate pressures caused by overcrowding by the beginning of the next school year.

The Every Child group urged community members to visit its Facebook page –facebook.com/everychildequal/ – to better understand how desperate SDS students are for a new school.

Earlier this week The Standard shared the story of SDS student Ben Block, who is unable to kick a footy at lunchtime due to space restrictions.

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