School roll bulging, but latest options ‘a lose-lose’
Consultation is under way to decide the fate of two Pt Chevalier schools following population growth that has the local primary stretched to capacity.
The Ministry of Education has contracted consultation agency AECOM to gauge community opinion on two options to accommodate the area’s expanding school-aged population.
Currently on the table is either turning Pasadena Intermediate School into a full primary school that would accept students through years 1-8, or building more classrooms at Pt Chevalier Primary to accommodate roll growth.
Pt Chevalier School principal Sandra Aitken says the school feels that it is already ‘‘big enough’’.
‘‘We are going to finish this year with around 750 children on a site that the ministry agreed was suitable for 700,’’ she says.
‘‘We are already stretched for play-space and I think the kids are sick of building. We have had building at the school seven of the last 10 years.’’
The school is now completing a building project that will leave it with six new classrooms, bringing its total to 32.
Pasadena Intermediate principal Tony Walsh says it is important people realise they can put forward other options for consideration.
‘‘We encourage the community to get involved and encourage them to think wider than the two options presented at the moment which are lose-lose,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s either losing an intermediate-level specific education facility or stretching the resources of an already full primary school.’’
If Pasadena Intermediate becomes a full primary some streets within the current Pt Chevalier enrolment zone will be re-zoned for a new Pasadena School.
There would be modifications to existing buildings, new school buildings added and associated infrastructure would be constructed to accommodate the younger roll.
Mr Walsh says the ministry has toyed with several solutions over the years, and the latest options are short-sighted.
‘‘The problem is Auckland-wide because the Auckland population is growing on the same footprint. So it is the ministry’s problem not Pasadena’s or Pt Chevalier’s problem.’’
Inner City Principals Group chairman Bill Barker says the issue affects the community wider than Pt Chevalier.
‘‘It has a rippling effect. As soon as you start playing around with zones you get a high community interest,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s going to be emotionally charged, because each school has pros and cons.’’
Inner City Principals Group
chairman Bill Barker