Echuca Specialist School’s fight for its rights

By Tyla Harrington

VICTORIAN Education Minister James Merlino has confirmed he will visit the Echuca Specialist School in the next two to three months.

But he has not changed his mind about funding the school so that it can move into the new Twin Rivers state-of-the-art facility.

Meaning it will sit idle until 2021 in its deplorable facilities in High St.

Still, it has been welcomed — in part — by the school council.

Vice president David O’Dea said he was concerned it was another empty promise from the government.

‘‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve heard these promises before.

‘‘It doesn’t mean much.

‘‘Hopefully when he visits he will be able to see with his own eyes what exactly is going on and they can reverse their decision and fund the school.’’

Mr O’Dea said the deplorable conditions would speak for themselves when the minister visits the school.

Mr Merlino’s media team has confirmed Mr Merlino’s visit. A date has not been set.

Mr O’Dea said politician Derryn Hinch will visit the school on July 23.

He said there were plans to run two rallies at the school to coincide with Victorian Shadow Education Minister Tim Smith’s visit, as well as Mr Merlino’s visit.

‘‘There was discussion to have a march,’’ Mr O’Dea said.

‘‘We’re not going to have one because a march is designed to shock an apathetic community and we don’t have an apathetic community. We are swamped with support from our community so we specifically don’t want to disrupt them.

‘‘Instead we will have a rally.

‘‘That will allow us to gather in a place where the kids are safe and it doesn’t disrupt the community.’’

The rally will likely be at the school, depending on numbers.

‘‘Obviously the original intent was for the shadow minister’s visit but now it will be for the minister’s visit as well,’’ Mr O’Dea said.

A date for the shadow minister’s visit has not been confirmed.