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There was a "slim chance" Rotary Park School would stay open for 2013, school commissioner Cleave Hay told more than 40 parents, staff, and community members at a meeting at the school last night.
Most at the fairly low-key meeting seemed resigned to the school closing.
Mr Hay said a key issue was whether Rotary stayed open for term 4. If it closed earlier the pupils, especially those in their last year, faced significant disruption.
Principal Carmel Casey, who attended the meeting, has been accused of staff bullying and incompetent teaching.
Education Minister Hekia Parata has ordered a school community consultation process after Mr Hay recommended it be considered for closure, because of its low roll, which was now 21 pupils.
Mr Hay said it was vital members of the school committee, including pupils, made a submission to ensure they had a say in what happened.
If parents were determined to keep the school open, they would have to find more pupils.
A possibility was for the school to become a satellite of another.
The ministerial briefing to Ms Parata highlighted in the Otago Daily Times last week signalled Dunedin was likely to undergo a city-wide school review process in the next three years, he said.
He had been surprised the school faced a deficit of only $8000 this year.
Funding for the deficit, and other costs, would come from special school closure money.
Whatever funding was left over would go to the schools that picked up Rotary pupils.
The funding was based on a roll of 61 pupils, of which 10 would be eligible.