Funding doubt over new school
PLANS for a new secondary school in the western suburbs are already being questioned, with no money allocated in the budget for the $84 million school promised by the State Government.
Education Minister Peter Collier made an announcement on Wednesday that a new school would open in City Beach by 2020, making way for more than 1600 western suburbs students by 2025.
The school would ease pressure on Shenton College and Churchlands Senior High School.
Claire Bellamy, spokeswoman of the We Need A High School parent lobby group, said: “Although the announcement was a relief, there was still a lot of uncertainty for parents in the western suburbs.
“Given the numbers are increasing every year, it’s going to take five years before the numbers at Shenton College and Churchlands start decreasing,” she said.
“We also won’t know what the catchments for the new school are until 2017, so although this announcement is a relief, parents still need to plan and they still have a wait ahead.”
Mrs Bellamy said parents were concerned the Government would not be able to follow through with their commitment.
“Where is the money going to come from? The Minister has said not to worry, but how do we know they are going to be able to find this money?” she asked.
“The Government should have planned for this earlier, they knew what the numbers were and that they were increasing. A new school should have been opening next year not in four years, and now our kids are still facing a school of 3000 students.”
The new school, which is yet to be named, will open for 250 Year 7 students in 2020 and will expand to cater for students up to Year 12 by 2025.
The International School of WA (ISWA), currently located at the City Beach site, have struck a deal with the Government to relocate to Doubleview Primary School, which will undergo a $15.4 million expansion.
Opposition Education spokeswoman Sue Ellery said she welcomed the announcement, but there were still a lot of questions that needed to be asked.
“What is being cut to generate this kind of money?” she said.
“$94 million of the announcement is not in the budget. That means we have no way of knowing how this government is going to honour this commitment to parents in the western suburbs.”
Mr Collier said the Government would not be cutting anything to make way for the school and the money would be allocated to the budget in the mid-year review.
He said plans for a new secondary school in the western suburbs had taken a while, but he made no apologies for that.
“The western suburbs have been a sore point… with pressure on Churchlands and Shenton College, and a shortfall of 4000 students.
“You’re going to find very few people who say it’s the wrong decision. It is the right decision.”
Parent lobby group spokeswoman Claire Bellamy, pictured with her children Cate, Alex and Tristan, says parents are uncertain if plans for the new school will come to fruition.