Schools in re­gion face scru­tiny from State Govern­ment

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Angelique Pat­ter­son

LO­CAL schools could be un­der threat af­ter the State Govern­ment an­nounced up to 55 schools, in­clud­ing 14 in the Far North, could be closed.

En­rol­ment, ac­ces­si­bil­ity, cur­ricu­lum and re­sourc­ing eq­uity will be looked at through­out Queens­land and any schools which do not meet the cri­te­ria will have their vi­a­bil­ity an­a­lysed.

This in­cludes ru­ral and re­mote pri­mary schools with with five or less stu­dents, or 15 stu­dents or less within 20km of a nearby school.

In the Dou­glas re­gion, Dain­tree and Mt Mol­loy State Schools fit this cri­te­ria, caus­ing con­cern among com­mu­nity mem­bers.

Mt Mol­loy prin­ci­pal Janene Har­ri­son said it is good to have a school in the town­ship of Mt Mol­loy and there’s huge sup­port from the par­ents and wider com­mu­nity.

‘‘We haven’t got any con­fir­ma­tion, no schools have been named apart from Bris­bane, but we will cross that bridge if and when we get to it,’’ she said.

‘‘We have a great school, happy kids and a happy com­mu­nity.’’

Dain­tree prin­ci­pal Jonathan Ga­gen said their school is es­sen­tial for stu­dents who al­ready travel a fair dis­tance for their ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘We have got stu­dents who are com­ing down from fur­ther down the line that have to cross a few rivers to get down the road, they’d miss out on cer­tain days of schools if the school was not there,’’ he said.

‘‘The school is a hub for the com­mu­nity, I have been talk­ing to com­mu­nity mem­bers that have been here many years and it’s a lot of the same things when it was closed and was go­ing to be closed a few years ago.’’

Cook MP David Kemp­ton said he will be dis­cussing with Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter JohnPaul Lang­broek fac­tors to con­sider about the re­gion be­fore mak­ing any de­ci­sions.

‘‘Ac­cess, ser­vices and dis­tance to travel to schools are fac­tors I will be tak­ing up per­son­ally with the Min­is­ter to make him aware,’’ he said.

‘‘The same cri­te­ria in cities does not ap­ply in ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas.’’

The Min­is­ter said each school will be as­sessed on a case-by-case ba­sis, tak­ing into ac­count lo­cal cir­cum­stances.

‘‘If we con­sider a school to be un­vi­able, we will con­sult with the com­mu­nity abut the pos­si­ble clo­sure of the school and the re­lo­ca­tion of stu­dents,’’ he said.

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