Rutherglen High gets $157k in maintenance blitz

By Rhys Williams

Rutherglen High School Principal, Phil Rogers, is optimistic that his school will finally be able to mend dilapidated buildings and explore garden space, thanks to a maintenance boost from the Andrews Labor Government. 

Rutherglen High School will receive an injection of $157,170 over the next two years, which has been pre allocated by the state government for maintenance and safety upgrades along with a grounds allowance.

Mr Rogers said that the extra money will likely enable his school to explore improvements that have largely been neglected due to budget constraints.

“We have rotting fascia boards and guttering in some of the buildings that were built back in the 60s but we haven’t had the money within our budget to fix them,” he told The Free Press.

“Now with this extra money, hopefully these are things we can now get around to replacing.”

Mr Rogers said that garden space has often been a after thought for his school due to prioritising student facilities and resources, but with 65k allocated to a grounds allowance over the next two years, he’s hoping to implement some flora to the front entrance of the school.

“The front entrance of the school has always been very bare and unappealing,” he said.

“With the grounds allowance, we’d like to look into restructuring the footpath leading up to the school and putting in a garden alongside it.”

Mr Rogers said that no plans are definitive yet, as discussions on where to use the money with be deliberated at a school council meeting. 

Rutherglen High is one of many Victorian schools that will share in $515 million in the single largest boost to school maintenance undertaken in Australia to date.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said that $1,009,854 in funding will support thirteen schools in Indigo Shire to ensure every student can attend a great local government school by tackling maintenance issues proactively.

“We know students get the most out of their education when they have safe, modern classrooms to learn in, and first-rate facilities the school community can feel proud of,” the MP said.

“The Victorian Government is investing $515 million in our state schools to ensure Indigo students can attend a great local school and get a great education.”

The investment will more than double funding for maintenance at Victoria’s state schools over the next two financial years, with more than $300 million to be invested in 2019/20 and $290 million in 2020/21. 

It will enable Indigo schools to do essential works such as painting, replacing carpet and windows, landscaping, tree inspections and maintenance of infrastructure like septic systems and water services.

This increased investment will enable principals to get on with the job of leading Victoria’s schools, by providing more funds to maintain the state’s 36,000 school buildings, while supporting schools to cater to the 115,000 additional students who are expected to enter the education system over the next five years.

The package complements the Labor Government’s recent initiatives to support schools to manage and maintain their facilities, including the Rolling Facilities Evaluation and the rollout of maintenance plans for each school.

The Labor Government is investing $170.5 million in emergency and incident response over five years, including an extra $57.8 million to address issues such as septic system failure, termite damage, mould, roof and floor damage, and $76.4 million to respond to unforeseen incidents and events such as storms, fire or flooding.

Schools in some of the state’s highest-risk bushfire areas will also have access to more funds to ensure they are ‘bushfire ready’, thanks to $44.2 million over five years for fire preparedness activities like vegetation removal.

Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes 

The following Indigo Shire schools will 

receive funding: 

Chiltern Primary School ($70,153)

Rutherglen Primary School ($49,104)

Wahgunyah Primary School ($22,695)

Wooragee Primary School ($41,459)

Yackandandah Primary School ($51,982)

Middle Indigo Primary School ($46,388) 

Osbornes Flat Primary School ($62,955)

Barnawartha Primary School ($51,282)

Beechworth Primary School ($63,919)

Upper Sandy Creek Primary School ($51,425)

Kiewa Valley Primary School ($182,966)

Beechworth Secondary College ($158,356)

Rutherglen High School ($157,170)