Williamson asks State to pay
THE Education Department has been asked to cough up the cash to cover the cost of hiring the Jim Thompson Pavilion so Maclean High School students can sit their HSC exams.
Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said he wrote a letter to education minister Adrian Piccoli on Friday requesting the department wear the cost as the school did not have adequate facilities to house all the 142 students sitting the HSC.
He said with a small gymnasium and not enough space in classrooms to cope at exam time the school had to hold exams offsite to comply with Board of Studies regulations.
"I made representations to the minister to fund the $4747.80 the school has paid for the use of the hall," he said.
"I think it's fair and reasonable that the department fund the school's activities.
"I made representations in the form of a letter asking him to review the situation and also ensure the money is reimbursed to the school for this year, and additional funds are made available to the school for coming years should the school continue to need to use the facility."
Cr Williamson said the cost, set at the start of each year by council, covered electricity, maintenance and future upgrades to showground facilities.
"It all goes into the showground trust and the trust is responsible for paying to carry out upgrades and maintenance."
He said council did not have the money in the budget to absorb the cost because it was a victim of the $250 million of cost-shifting, calculated by the Local Government Association, that is passed on by the state government to local governments every year.
"In a perfect world and in a world that has money in every budget, the council would gladly pay, and make a bigger contribution to all the schools in the Clarence.
"But the reality is that our budgets are under increasing pressure each and every year.
"And obviously the showground trust is under pressure to provide new facilities and amenities on the showground."