Online petition fights for Apollo Bay school

An online petition aims to convince the State Government to honour a commitment to upgrade Apollo Bay P-12 College. Click to sign the petition.

APOLLO BAY P-12 College’s community hopes an online campaign will convince the State Government to honour a promise to fund a school upgrade.

Libby Riches, mother of two children at the college, has started an internet petition on behalf of the Apollo Bay school council after the government failed to allocate $6.3 million it pledged for the school during its 2010 election campaign.

The petition to Premier Ted Baillieu and Polwarth MP Terry Mulder has gained nearly 270 signatures in a week.

The petition says Apollo Bay’s teachers and students “face another year of unacceptable conditions” due to the State Budget snub.

Ms Riches said the petition was “steadily building”.

“Lots of people are spreading it around for us, which is fantastic,” she said.

Ms Riches said the condition of the school buildings was unacceptable for children and teachers.

“They are freezing in winter and in summer, when they can’t afford to run air conditioning as well, they’re hot,” she said.

“The teachers have spray bottles just to keep the kids cool.

“And it’s a constant battle with the mould.”

Ms Riches said missing out in this year’s budget was “a huge shock” for the Apollo Bay school community.

“It’s complete and ready to go and signed off on,” she said of the upgrade’s plans.

“To not receive that money after all that was quite devastating.

“The parents’ and friends’ group has raised $40,000 to build a new playground to go with the new school.

“Now we’re trying to figure out what to do with that money that’s been raised.”

Education Minister Martin Dixon visited Birregurra Primary School last week after it also missed out in funding.

Ms Riches said the Apollo Bay school community was disappointed Mr Dixon failed to visit Apollo Bay.

“We would like a firm commitment made in public and in writing from our local members and from the State Government that the money will be available in the next budget, not some time within the electoral term,” she said.

“We’d like to raise awareness that some of the state’s public schools are absolutely decrepit and absolutely in need of infrastructure funding.”

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