Residents dark over blue light
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 , rising to 90 in three years.
Blue Light High School.