Schol­ar­ship fires up de­bate


Coun­cil­lor opin­ions were di­vided over whether stu­dents who study out­side the dis­trict should be el­i­gi­ble for the May­oral Schol­ar­ship.

South Waikato Dis­trict coun­cil­lors were torn by the cri­te­ria of the $ 20,000 schol­ar­ship. Coun­cil­lor Terry Mag­ill be­lieved year 13 stu­dents who stud­ied in schools out­side the dis­trict should not be el­i­gi­ble. ‘‘I be­lieve we need to support the schools within our dis­trict.’’

The $20,000 may­oral schol­ar­ship is usu­ally given to one youth un­der 21 who will study a full-time de­gree the fol­low­ing year.

All stu­dents who live within the dis­trict and meet the cri­te­ria are el­i­gi­ble. Two Toko­roa stu­dents, who stud­ied at Toko­roa High School and For­est View High School, split the schol­ar­ship this year.

Mag­ill said it was the par­ents’ ‘‘choice’’ to send their chil­dren to a school out of the dis­trict.

Though he did not dis­agree with the par­ents’ decision he thought the schol­ar­ship should right­fully go to those in lo­cal schools.

Mayor Neil Sinclair said one of the main de­cid­ing fac­tors was the prom­ise of stu­dents re­turn­ing to the dis­trict for work.

But to take their word for it was not enough for some coun­cil­lors.

‘‘How can you en­sure they will come back . . . of course you can’t so it’s stupid to say that’s the main cri­te­ria,’’ coun­cil­lor Bill Machen said.

How­ever Sinclair had faith in this year’s ap­pli­cants.

‘‘The 15 I in­ter­viewed this year have a belief about the South Waikato that is out­stand­ing.’’

Deputy mayor Jenny Shat­tock said they had to con­sider those who send their stu­dents out of the dis­trict were still ratepay­ers and there­fore con­trib­uted to­wards the schol­ar­ship fund.Sinclair said the cri­te­ria would be looked at be­fore the next se­lec­tion.

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