Res­i­dents dark over blue light

Taupo Times - - PEOPLE JOIN THE SEARCH MODEL OF BOATING PERFECTION - STEPH RANGI AND DANIEL HUTCHIN­SON

Wairakei res­i­dents are up­set over a lack of con­sul­ta­tion on a new char­ter school in the vil­lage.

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced in July that it had signed a con­tract with Blue Light Ven­tures - a New Zealand Po­licerun youth ac­tiv­i­ties pro­gramme.

It will put open the Blue Light Se­nior Boy’s High School next year. It is a board­ing school based at Blue Light’s Wairakei premises, and will even­tu­ally have 90 boys in years 11-13.

Res­i­dent Gra­ham Black said there was no con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity. They were just told what was go­ing to hap­pen.

‘‘As a com­mu­nity we don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to go about help­ing our com­mu­nity. We don’t know the im­pact on our com­mu­nity.’’

Blue Light ceo Rod Bell said it was not a school for kids that are crim­i­nals and the stu­dents were not ‘‘at risk’’.

‘‘It’s not a school chil­dren go to when they’ve been kicked out of oth­ers.’’

Prin­ci­pal of the new school Mike Jack­son said stu­dents will do NCEA and each stu­dent will grad­u­ate with the Duke of Ed­in­burgh.

Fred­erik Beck­ers has lived in the vil­lage for 41 years. He de­scribed the school as an ’’ill­founded ven­ture’’ and the pro­posed fa­cil­i­ties were in­ad­e­quate for 90 peo­ple.

At a com­mu­nity meet­ing ear­lier this month, res­i­dents drafted 25 ques­tions they wanted an­swers to but Beck­ers said they re­ceived only ‘‘sugar coated’’ an­swers.

At a sub­se­quent meet­ing on Thurs­day last week, Blue Light chair Al­lan Row­lands ad­mit­ted they got the con­sul­ta­tion wrong and apol­o­gised.

‘‘I would like to of­fer an apol­ogy. We did do it wrong. All the com­ments here have ab­so­lutely been taken on board,’’ Row­lands said.

How­ever, when he con­firmed the school was still go­ing ahead, most of the res­i­dents at the meet­ing got up and walked out.

One man at the meet­ing said not enough thought had been put into the char­ter school.

‘‘I’m pretty dis­ap­pointed. You pretty much just gave us a tea­spoon of sugar and a cup of cof­fee, say­ing we’re com­ing and there’s noth­ing you can do about it,’’ he said.

The school will house 30 stu­dents in its first year [2018], ris­ing to 90 in three years.

Blue Light High School.

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