$20m for new Prahran secondary school

After two years of lobbying by Prahran state Liberal MP Clem Newton-Brown, Stonnington has received a $20 million commitment from the Coalition State Government to establish a state secondary school in Prahran.

Since the closure of the last standing high school in the 1990s, children have been forced to commute to surrounding public schools.

Prahran resident Jane Mills said Stonnington was lacking in State Government secondary school options.

“Seven years ago I was searching for a public secondary school for my daughter to attend in Stonnington,” Ms Mills said.

“There were none.

“For a large catchment area, I found it quite offensive the government hadn’t provided a single school for those who cannot afford private education.”

A growing demand for a public high school has been identified and a recent study conducted by .id estimated a 19.6 per cent population growth by 2036.

Estimated Growth for Stonnington

Source: Figures prepared by .id, December 2013

Mr Newton-Brown was optimistic about the prospect of having a state high school housed within the boundaries of Stonnington.

“My community has told me loud and clear that we need a local secondary school for our kids,” he said.

“We have enormous choice in secondary education in the private sector in this area, but no local options.”

Mr Newton-Brown said kids coming out of state primary schools have no local public secondary schooling options and the closest state secondary schools require multiple modes of public transport, with unacceptable travel times for students.

State Secondary Schools Surrounding Stonnington

A snapshot of the nearest state secondary schools currently available to Stonnington residents.

Stonnington Mayor Adrian Stubbs was pleased the State Government had accepted the demand for a state high school in the area, but had some concern for the lack of advanced planning as to its location.

“I’m just concerned they haven’t been able to announce the site,” Mr Stubbs said.

“No location has been confirmed.

“My preference would be the site of the old Swinburne campus because I think it’s got easy access to transport, it’s sort of central to Stonnington and it could be a great spot for it.”

With the funds being made available in the next term of government, Mr Newton-Brown’s attention will now be drawn to determining an appropriate site for the school.

Opposition spokesman Murray Newton did not reveal whether Labor would support this promise come the state election, but he was not convinced of the Coalition’s undertaking.

“Given Denis Napthine’s attitude to education funding, such as ripping $300 million a year out of TAFE and cutting $48 million from the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, it is highly unlikely many schools in need will receive their promised funding in the May 2014 budget,” Mr Newton said.

Originally published at Melbourne Tribune.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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