Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell (right), Yamba Public School P&C; president Shelly White (left) and vice-president Kim McFarlane get to hear first-hand the effect a lack of air conditioning is having on students.
Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell (right), Yamba Public School P&C; president Shelly White (left) and vice-president Kim McFarlane get to hear first-hand the effect a lack of air conditioning is having on students.

Battle for funds heats up

AS STUDENTS in Yamba swelter in their new classrooms, Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell has also been getting a bit hot under the collar.

According to Mr Cansdell, the humid conditions at Yamba Public School simply aren't good enough.

Mr Cansdell said the Yamba school community was told the three new classrooms built with Building the Education Revolution (BER) money could not be air-conditioned because the Department of Education and Training (DET) only provided air-conditioning for schools in “heat zones” – areas with mean maximum January temperatures of 30 and above.

He said DET, rather foolishly given Yamba's typical warm weather, approved three heaters per room, which only kicked in when temperatures dropped to 18 degrees, and about 10 whirlybird air vents on the roof.

He said the education bureaucracy needed to understand local needs.

“I'd really like DET decision-makers to sit in the hot classrooms and see if they'd like to work in those conditions," Mr Cansdell said.

Mr Cansdell said Yamba Public returned $80,000 in surplus BER funds and offered to trade the heating systems and a water tank for air conditioning.

“Not a bad swap when you consider we have about one or two months of winter and the rest are hot and humid,” he said.

Mr Cansdell said he would seek a special exemption from DET to allow funding for air conditioning.

After discussing the matter with the NSW Shadow Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, he was confident of a positive outcome.



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