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.