The Liberal Berejiklian Government has once again ignored the needs of Maitland's school students and their families in yesterday’s Budget. Once again there has been a significant failure to address chronic and widespread overcrowding and the mountain of maintenance backlogs in Maitland’s schools.
Despite the Government's grandiose announcements of school expansions for Maitland - there are no new schools listed in the 2017/18 NSW Budget papers, and only two schools listed for expansion. One of these, Bolwarra, is just a re-announcement of the 2015 election campaign.
The other school indicated, Rutherford Public, has been the subject of a strong campaign by Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison to address extensive growth which has seen a massive increase in the number of demountables.
With no indication of the actual amounts allocated for either school upgrade due to commercial-in-confidence, nor time frames, Labor is concerned that Maitland students might only get a band-aid solution to alleviate overcrowding issues.
Maitland is growing very quickly, which is why at the last election, Labor committed to a new public primary and a new public high school. Why hasn't the Government done the same?
The lack of vision and planning by the Berejiklian Government over the past 6 years has forced students to learn in overcrowded and dilapidated classrooms. Out of zone enrolments are out of control and siblings are being forced to study at different schools due to a lack of places.
Schools like Gillieston Public School and Thornton Public School are under significant pressure due to new housing development, but there's no money in this budget to address that growth.
Quotes Attributable to Member for Maitland Ms Jenny Aitchison MP
"The Berejiklian Government is showing contempt for our community by not recognising that Maitland is a major growth area of NSW."
“Our children deserve the best possible education, and that means providing the best possible learning environment.
“Under the Liberal-National Government schools in our community have been allowed to wither away into a state of dilapidation.”
“Children in Maitland schools are being forced to learn in second rate environments because the Liberal-National Government has failed to address the growing maintenance backlog and to recognise our growing population."
“Maitland has significant overcrowding in the vast majority of our schools. This budget has only responded to the long overdue funding needs of Bolwarra and Rutherford and has provided no vision to address future areas of need.”