Open letter to the Premier of Victoria

By Riverine Herald

SADLY I read that Echuca Specialist School has once more missed out on funding in the budget for a new school.

I am not just disappointed, I am educationally ashamed.

I began my teaching career in 1975 and have, in the past 43 years, worked as a primary teacher and for 20 years as a dedicated school principal.

In the past seven years since I retired I have continued to teach for government schools in the Echuca area, in particular Echuca Specialist School.

My teaching in this school has given me the opportunity to see firsthand the unique and challenging environment in which the students and staff conduct themselves each and every day.

The facilities are simply inadequate to offer high-quality engaging programs, however the staff to their credit do an amazing job.

It is an appalling situation.

I know the school leadership will not cause any waves because I was in a similar position as principal and we know our place – very low in the scheme of things.

The school, on demand and bullying from a senior department figure, gave up their Rudd government funding so that the money could be used elsewhere.

This financial sacrifice gave the leadership of the Loddon Mallee Region the ability to fund projects which were of no advantage to Echuca Specialist School.

Promises were made.

Promises have been broken.

You are not to blame.

You make decisions based on advice from others, both economic and political.

If you or any other public servant across our State went to work each day in such an environment as Echuca Specialist School students and staff are expected to do, I’m sure you’d think twice about your job, your career and your future.

The staff at this school do not think that way.

They work tirelessly for the children.

They are challenged mentally and physically each day but they bounce back in hope that they are making a difference.

Premier you need to make a difference to the lives of these children too.

You need to see the REAL situation your dedicated staff are working in.

We can and should be offering these children a better facility now.

Children from Echuca and surrounding districts deserve much more than is currently being given.

Yours in education,

Robert Craig