Outside the ageing Helensvale State School
Outside the ageing Helensvale State School

Children forced to use loos without doors

PRIMARY school children are being forced to use toilets without doors and confronted with safety hazards due to a maintenance budget crisis at an ageing Gold Coast school.

Photographs show the lack of privacy in toilet blocks, that students must navigate dangerous pavements to classrooms and damaged seating outside remains off limits.

Theodore MP Mark Boothman estimates the repairs at Helensvale State School will cost $500,000, but the annual maintenance budget is less than $100,000.

Theodore MP Mark Boothman has been approached by concerned parents at the Helensvale State School. Pic: Tim Marsden.
Theodore MP Mark Boothman has been approached by concerned parents at the Helensvale State School. Pic: Tim Marsden.

"The school is littered with potential trip hazards with cracked concrete footpaths, outdoor seats in desperate need of replacement, drainage failing to deal with rain events, rain water drain pipes rusting or just flat-out broken," Mr Boothman said.

"Students are forced to forego privacy due to missing and difficult-to-close toilet doors. It's ridiculous. The school is desperate for help.

"They need to get more funding to get on top of these jobs. There is a backlog. I have to give the school their dues, they've done everything they can with limited funds."

The Palaszczuk Government provided almost $82 million for Coast State schools in its 2018-19 budget to cover maintenance and capital works projects.

Seats needing repairs at Helensvale State School.
Seats needing repairs at Helensvale State School.

But most of the funds were spent providing extra classrooms at high schools at Helensvale, Tamborine Mountain, Pimpama State Secondary College and Ormeau Woods along with construction of new primary school at Coomera.

The Government allocated $210 million across the state for school maintenance, of which $6 million went to the Coast and $98,000 to Helensvale State School.

Despite the funding, parents at the school have a lengthy list of complaints which include:

Rusted guttering on buildings due to trees and Education Queensland not using gutter guards.

Concrete paths lifting and sinking due to tree roots and poor repair work.

A 16-year-old classroom yet to be re-painted externally or internally since it opened.

Eroded grounds which need levelling, and the oval requiring new turf.

An off-limit area outside one building due to exposed tree roots, erosion and deteriorating wooden benches.

Concrete paths need repairing at Helensvale State School.
Concrete paths need repairing at Helensvale State School.

Plastic corrugated sheeting outside classrooms which are cracked, broken and falling off.

Cement bag racks with wooden cross beams broken and falling apart.

A retaining wall which needs replacing and 34-year-old tennis courts resurfacing and remarking.

The teacher's onsite carpark needing fill and stabilisation of the road surface.

School boundary fences where the wire is broken and support pipework rusted and cracked.

Parents believe many kids are too embarrassed to use the toilets at the school.
Parents believe many kids are too embarrassed to use the toilets at the school.

Education Minister Grace Grace said the LNP in 2015 had "lumped us with a long list of maintenance jobs valued at $214 million" which the Government was working on fixing.

"The principal (at Helensvale), like all state school principals, is responsible for allocating these funds to priority projects, as required," she said.

"However, since receiving a letter from the Member for Theodore, I have requested a regional infrastructure advisor to visit the school to assist the Principal and school community in prioritising any urgent works, so that a comprehensive response can be provided."

A parent told the Bulletin: "Parents have had discussions about it. They can't keep up with the maintenance (of the older schools). There's a lot of new schools on the Gold Coast given the same budget as us despite no maintenance being required."