Fund­ing doubt over new school

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By LISA THOMAS

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.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d460145

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.

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