Saturday, January 29, 2011

AUSTRALIA: PARENTS BOYCOTT NEW SCHOOL LEVY

CATH NEWS REPORT- Parents at a Catholic primary school in Thornbury, Victoria, plan to boycott a new $105 annual building levy introduced by the local parish priest to help fund a major government development project at the school, reports the Northcote Leader.


The $2 million Federal Government Building the Education Revolution project comprises a library, technology centre and learning areas.The parents of students at St Mary's Primary School in Thornbury, said they do not want to pay until the priest, Father Gerald Medici, justified the need for the levy and guaranteed satisfactory resolution of the past year's issues.

"St Mary's has already received $2 million in (federal) funds and Father Medici applied for a $400,000 grant to fix up the school grounds," said one parent, Con Sarazen.

"Why should parents have to pay an extra levy? We are asking other parents not to pay it out of protest."

In a statement sent via the Catholic Education Office, Father Medici said the building levy would help service a loan to refurbish the school buildings and it was no higher than similar levies at other Catholic schools in the area.

Fr Medici said the levy was "totally separate" from the federal project and that an existing community development levy of $50 had been discontinued.

In a separate clash, teachers have raised concerns with the Victorian Independent Education Union about health and safety issues arising from building works.

Union spokesman David Brear said concerns included builders' ladders left erected in school toilets, contractors failing to sign in, teachers forced to vacate classrooms at short notice, cuts in programs and lack of consultation.'

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=24851

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