Tiny sect school gets $1.2m library

Ninemsn, Australia/April 7, 2010

An Exclusive Brethren school in Bendigo with just 53 students has received $1.2 million in federal funding in order to build a new library.

A second school run by the controversial sect in Swan Hill in Victoria's north-west has been given $800,000 to build a school hall, despite having just 16 primary school students, The Age reported.

The funding of the school campuses has given ammunition to critics of the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution program.

The infrastructure program only allows a maximum of $250,000 in funding for schools with fewer than 50 students, but the Exclusive Brethren used a loophole by designating the schools as campuses of existing ones.

The Glenvale School has 12 campuses across Victoria with a combined total of around 600 students.

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said the funding of Glenvale School highlighted the Government's need to put greater priority to schools with greater need.

Mr Gavrielatos said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also needed to justify giving so much funding to a sect he branded as an "extremist cult" in 2007.

Exclusive Brethren spokesman John Anderson said the funding would be spent on library facilities at several of the school campuses.

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