Thursday, March 17, 2011
Melbourne’s Yeshivah under investigation
YESHIVAH College in Melbourne is currently being investigated by the Education Department over its use of federal Government grants.
The matter concerns the St Kilda East school’s use of money allocated as part of the Building the Education Revolution (BER) stimulus package.
According to a spokesperson for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, “The BER Taskforce are currently investigating this matter to ensure that the use and construction of the facilities is in line with the BER guidelines.”
The investigation relates to a recently constructed building on the school’s Hotham Street premises.
The AJN understands the issue stems back to mid-2008, when Chabad Youth presented plans before council to construct a new three-storey multipurpose premises for its activities on Yeshivah College land.
A specific Chabad Youth premises was never constructed, but a multimillion dollar multipurpose facility – funded in part by BER grants – was built in its place.
Chabad Youth, an organisation that runs after-school and out-of-hours programs for young Jewish people, is a subsidiary of the Yeshivah Centre. It is operated by Rabbi Moshe Kahn, who is the son-in-law of Yeshivah Centre board member Don Wolf.
Yeshivah’s business manager Nechama Bendet said the school is confident it has adhered to all of the Government’s guidelines and requirements.
“To comply with the short timeframes associated with BER funding, existing permits were utilised by the school to build the hall,” she explained. “In addition to BER funding, over $3 million in additional funds were raised from the community to fund the balance of the building.”
She said the new hall will be used by the school for activities ranging from assemblies to indoor sports. It will also be utilised as a study area and for meetings with teachers and parents.
But she admitted other community organisations would be given access to the new facility.
“In accordance with BER guidelines, the hall will be made available to the local community after school hours and on weekends for after-school clubs and other recreational, cultural, sporting and social activities,” she said.