The Remarkables Primary School's board of trustees and
principal have told the Ministry of Education and deputy prime
minister Bill English they will not accept the ministry's
proposal to annex two empty classrooms at nearby KingsView
School to cope with the Remarkables school's overflowing roll.
The board last night declared "immediate action is necessary"
and submitted its own set of proposals to solve the Frankton
school's roll growth crisis, on the eve of welcoming the
school's 462nd pupil today. Its capacity is 460.
Ministry officials were told the rejection of their proposal
to split the school by accommodating some pupils at KingsView
was based on "overwhelming school community feedback".
Of the 253 respondents to a survey conducted by the board in
July, 87% said they were unhappy with the KingsView option.
Trustees formulated their own strategy "in the absence of a
response" from the ministry by the deadline of July 27.
The board said a short-term solution could be to use the
existing early childhood centre on the Remarkables School
site to accommodate some junior pupils from January 30 next
year. Trustees had already talked to the Otago Playcentre
Association, which was open to moving the early childhood
centre to classrooms beside KingsView School and wanted to
discuss options with the ministry.
Adaptations to the centre would need to be finished by
January 15. The board's medium-term proposal involved two
relocatable classrooms on the school site, beside Pohatu Pod
and at the end of Ahuwhenua Pod, from term 3 next year.
Research found a company to provide "flat pack" classrooms
which were in keeping with Remarkable Primary's design.
The classrooms would cater for the school's roll until
mid-2014, when the board predicted there will be 520 to 530
Starting construction of a sixth "learning pod" of four extra
classrooms by the end of 2013, or the start of 2014, for
teaching use by mid-2014 was the long-term solution proposed
by the board.
Sited on the sports field, the extension "will provide
long-term sustainability" with enrolment likely to be
maintained around 500 pupils, even when an entirely new
primary school was built.
The board also recommended the Remarkables school's roll
designation be increased to 560 pupils and said the
Queenstown Lakes District Council had advised it did not
object to this.
However, designation change needed to start by the end of
August this year.
Chairwoman Fiona Woodham and principal Debbie Dickson told
the ministry the next scheduled meeting with ministry
officials in the middle of August was "too far away" and
requested a meeting this week to discuss the board's three
solutions to "our urgent overcrowding issues".