How are you feeling about HOW the financial stimulus money is being spent and even ‘forced’ on schools and communities?
One worrying aspect is just how much waste will be incurred – and where it might otherwise be spent – in the rush to ‘spend and save jobs’?
North of Perth the remote Aboriginal community of Yulga Jinna worries it will lose its two teachers who are housed in mining ‘dongas’… they have had 12 teachers in the last 3 years.
The community of 64 is flabbergasted that they must spend $250,000 on a new multi-purpose hall, effectively giving the 24 students a fourth classroom. The grant would cover the cost of one new house… and the two teachers might even be willing to share…
I am no expert, but when there is money to be had, over the years I have seen an awful lot of effort from grassroots people and the representatives of community organisations endeavouring to be open about needs and to prioritise actions according to those needs.
The fact that everything is out there in the public arena and that community members have to live with the people they are dealing with, tends to keep things open and honest.
The Weekend Australian 20.06.09 describes
“pig-headed authorities, especially state departments, short-changing schools’ real needs, despite the cash bonanza…and leaving schools…to bake in 40C summers without airconditioning as new gyms are built…and duplicating perfectly adequate multi-purpose halls and libraries…”
Rather than allow any such possibility why not adopt one of the many community and organisational change approaches already in use to get communities conversing and so fine tune the authorities’ recommendations?