Insolvent Melbourne school ‘could reopen’


The financially insolvent Melbourne school Mowbray College could be rebadged and reopened as early as 2013, according to its administrator.

About 300 year 11 and 12 students will finish their first semester VCE exams at the college after the state government provided a $1 million loan.

But Wednesday is the final day at Mowbray for about 950 kindergarten to year 10 students.

The school in Melbourne’s west entered voluntary administration last week, with debts of about $18 million, and is expected to go into liquidation.

Administrator Jim Downey said there were too many hurdles for a white-knight buyer to reopen the school this year.

But he said the numerous inquiries into the college’s land, buildings and intellectual property were encouraging.

“I’ve already had a measure of interest from a variety of other colleges, local and international,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“I’ve informed all of those parties that at the appropriate time I’ll get back to them seeking their expression of further interest in a bid for the facilities to hopefully reopen some time in the future.

“One could conceive that could happen as early as next year.”

Mr Downey said he was still in the process of investigating exactly how the school’s finances crumbled.

“It’s pretty early days but I think a school carrying that much debt is saddling itself with a significant ball and chain around its leg before it needs to cope with all the other operating costs.”

The college owes in excess of $16 million to the National Australia Bank and owes its teachers about $2.1 million, the Victorian Supreme Court heard on Wednesday.

Unsecured creditors are owed about $557,000 but have little chance of being repaid.

Mr Downey said he would not comment on the value of the school’s assets.

He said there was about $2 million in unpaid school fees that he would be chasing.

Asked on ABC Radio if he would be suing parents to recover the debt, Mr Downey replied, “I have to”.

The school also had a fortnightly wage bill of $500,000.

The court had to approve the government’s short-term rescue package, which allows the VCE students to complete the term and teachers to compile scholastic records for the remaining students seeking a new school.

Justice Ross Robson only approved the loan after the government agreed to sit behind a list of unsecured creditors, effectively conceding it would not be repaid.

The first meeting of creditors will be held on June 8.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes