Campaign victory Budget win for Hume Valley School:

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Hume/Moreland Leader | By Kate Swan

11th May 2011

Budget win for Hume Valley School When news passed through Hume Valley School that it would receive the $9 million upgrade it had been waiting seven years for, no one was more pleased than 13-year-old student Phillip. “For me, it is mission accomplished,” he said.

Phillip is one of 200 students who have dreamed of bright open spaces to replace cramped portable classrooms and 1960s blackboards at the Dallas school for children with intellectual disabilities. Over the past six months the Leader has led a campaign for the Coalition Government to fund the school, which had been promised by Labor.

As pace increased the Leader was joined by new Broadmeadows MP Frank McGuire, shadow Education Minister Rob Hulls, Hume Mayor Helen Patsikatheodorou and human rights advocates supporting the school’s desperate need. Last week it received a surprise $4 million in the State Budget to start building new classrooms, performing arts spaces, bathrooms and administration facilities. The smile on Phillip’s face said it all. A keen interest in politics led him to write to Education Minister Martin Dixon to ask him to fund the school’s rebuild, and to collar Mr McGuire and Mr Hulls when they visited the school in March.
“I told them all that we need a school not just for now but for the future,” Phillip said. “It made me feel that although I’m young, I can be smart.”

Principal Diane Bassett said the school community had poured its heart and soul into hoping for the renovations.

“This is our dream coming true and it is absolutely what our special kids deserve,” Ms Bassett said. Mr McGuire said he would continue to work with the community to secure the final $5 million for the works, which is expected in next year’s budget. Construction will take more than two years.

The school was the last cab off the rank in the Broadmeadows Schools Regeneration Project, which has spent more than $70 million merging and renovating schools to improve learning opportunities.

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