Specialist school to host shadow minister

IN its continuing bid to secure funding for a purpose-built school, Sale Specialist School will play host to the Disabilities, Carers and Voluntary Sector Shadow Minister Mitch Fifield next Monday.

Mr Fifield was invited to the school by Gippsland MHR Darren Chester.

The senator’s visits will cap off six months of active lobbying by the schools’ New School Parent Action Group, formed by parents to develop a new school facility.

Sale Specialist School has been operating a second “temporary” campus for the past six years, made from a cluster of portable buildings, because it had outgrown the original Raymond St site.

School representative Jane Nash said conditions at both campuses were cramped and outdated with no specialised therapy areas.

“The original school was built in 1985 for 15 students and there are now 75 students,” Mrs Nash said.

“These students are among society’s most vulnerable and we need to provide better facilities.”

She said it was not fair to the students, their families or staff.

“We are now finding it difficult to recruit new specialised teachers who are citing the school’s facilities as their reason for taking other jobs,” Mrs Nash said.

Sale Specialist School is the only specialist school in the Wellington Shire.

The campaign to build a new school has stepped up since last year’s formation of the New School Parent Action Group and the presentation of a petition with more than 2800 signatures to the Victorian Parliament, through Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan.

Mrs Nash said the school was hopeful the NSPAG’s six months hard work demonstrating the desperate need for new facilities, and the community’s overwhelming support, would result in funding when the Victorian Budget is announced next month.