School embroiled in Gonski error being sold for just $280,000
A regional Victorian primary school that closed in 2013 — months before being promised a $220,000 funding boost off the back of the Gonski Review — is being sold off.
Thornton Primary School shut in January 2013 as a result of low enrolments, with only about 20 students attending in 2012.
It made headlines six months later when it was revealed that if the state government signed on for the National Plan for School Improvement, it would get the extra funding in 2019.
Almost seven years after it taught the federal government a lesson in double checking details, the Victorian treasury is now looking to offload the surplus school.
It is expected to sell for about $280,000, which would get you a typical house on a standard block in the town a short drive from Lake Eildon.
Landmark Harcourts Alexandra agent Belinda Hocking says the 7800sqm property at 3-9 Back Eildon Rd, Thornton has already begun to attract buyers doing the math on its potential.
While Facebook comments on the listing revealed some in the area still remember the days of the old school yard, it’s expected the next owner will put it to a different use.
“I’d say it will be redeveloped, it’s an ideal tourist spot on the main road into Lake Eildon, so could suit as a bed and breakfast or cabins,” Hocking says.
“And it’s right near the Goulburn River.”
The windows are boarded up and the furniture is gone, but chalkboards and other aspects remain.
“It’s in its original state, they walked out and shut the doors,” she says.
The property includes the three-room school house, a shelter shed, several out buildings and the old basketball court — as well as a number of mature trees.
“There’s a heritage overlay on the oak trees there, which have got to be over 100 years old,” Hocking said.
With township zoning, it was also possible someone could buy the school and convert it as a residence or even run a business from the charming weatherboard buildings.
After just a few days on the market it had already begun attracting inquiry from those already living in the area and from Melbourne, Hocking says.
When the Gonski gaffe was revealed a spokeswoman for then federal education minister Peter Garrett said the school had been selected on data from the year prior and the promised funding would follow students who had been forced to enrol elsewhere by its closure.
The school goes to auction at noon on March 20.
This article from The Herald Sun originally appeared as “Victorian school at centre of Gonski gaffe listed for sale”.