School roll bulging, but lat­est op­tions ‘a lose-lose’

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

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

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