The Australian: ‘We have to clean up BER mess’

November 10th, 2010 posted by


Glendal Primary School is facing a $180,000 bill to make the building “up to standard”.

Parents and the principal of Glendal Primary School say their $3 million Building the Education Revolution project has been left without proper cupboards, shelves, covered walkways and airconditioning.

The school falls in the electorate of Mount Waverley, where Children’s Minister Maxine Morand holds her seat by just 0.4 per cent, and is the second school in as many days to raise concerns just weeks before voters go to the polls on November 27.

School council president Nikhil Tandon told The Australian the $54,000 given to the school to furnish the six classrooms and open learning space was woefully short.

The BER project did not include covered walkways, workstations for the computers or airconditioning. “It’s unfair the school has to find up to $180,000 to finish this building to a usable standard,” he said. “Where did the $3m go that we were promised? We just want them to explain that but they will not tell us.”

Mr Tandon said the building needed airconditioning and did not have any internal joinery such as shelves or cupboards. “It is not suitable for occupation in summer without airconditioning,” he said, “and we have computer terminals but no desks on which to put the computers.”

Principal Deborah Grossek — who is married to fellow principal and BER critic Henry Grossek — said the school could have done a much better job if it had been given the funding.

“Where are we supposed to get this additional money from?” she asked.

Opposition education spokesman Martin Dixon said it was ridiculous that John Brumby was leaving schools with bills to finish the buildings because of the incompetent management of the BER program.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said schools with BER projects using “standard designs” were all receiving funding for the purchase of furniture and equipment in order to maximise these state-of-the-art learning spaces.

“Glendal Primary School has received $54,750 for furniture and equipment and $32,500 for information technology to fit out its new BER building,” he said.

The spokesman also said BER buildings had been designed for “optimal environmental performance” and the department provides airconditioning to schools with the highest needs based on the climatic index.…/story-fn56ulhe-1225950364918

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