Scientology school selling million-dollar slice, Australia/December 9, 2018

By Mikaela Day

A school linked to the controversial Church of Scientology is selling off its netball court and grounds for a million-dollar sum.

The Yarralinda Primary School and Early Learning Centre in Mooroolbark has been plagued by financial woes and previously came under fire for using government funding to pay off debts.

The school recently carved off 1960sq m of its school grounds, including its netball court, and put the site on the market with approved plans and permits for four single-level homes.

The subdivision at 4 Birchwood Drive has a $1.05-$1.15 million price tag.

First National Zenith Ringwood managing director David van den Bovenkamp said the school planned to use the windfall to help fund school projects, but would not disclose details.

“It will help improve the quality of life for the students,” Mr van den Bovenkamp said.

“It’s a unique one and it goes to show there’s still (development) opportunities out there for people willing to think outside the box.”

The My School website shows Yarralinda Primary School has just 23 students. 
According to the website, the school received $250,671 in government funding in 2016, contributing to a total income of almost $790,000 that year.

The school made headlines in 2009 after using more than half of its total annual income of $218,353 to pay off debts believed to have been racked up lending money to the Church of Scientology for its $21 million Ascot Vale base.

The school proclaims on its website to be a “proud member of the Applied Scholastics Network and is licensed to use the Educational Services and Materials based on the works of L Ron Hubbard”, the founder of the Church of Scientology.

It is understood to be one of only two schools in Australia to do so.

Mr van den Bovenkamp said the development plans approved for the site would meet a strong demand for single-level homes in the area.

“These homes perfectly suit the downsizer market which is quite prevalent at the moment,” he said.

“Mooroolbark is quite undulating and there’s not a lot of flat blocks and high-calibre homes on a smaller block.”

The school did not respond to requests for comment.

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