Parents continue fight for new high school in Pottsville
POTTSVILLE parents have relaunched a campaign in the lead-up to the March state election to urge the education department, and Tweed State MP Geoff Provest, to reconsider their decision not to go ahead with a new local high school.
Campaign spokesperson Korinne Szandala said parents were sick of their children's long commute to the region's feeder school, Kingscliff High, which could take up to half an hour each way.
Ms Szandala said parents were also concerned about overcrowding at Kingscliff High by the population growth through developments across the Tweed Shire which will house 10,000 new residents.
However, Mr Provest, who in his maiden Parliamentary speech in 2007 called on the government to start planning for the school, said that he had since established through consultation with education directors and the ministry that a new high school was not needed yet.
He also said if a new high school was built it would reduce the size of the Kingscliff High cohort, which would see it lose some of its teaching staff and advanced programs.
"Current secondary enrolments across the Tweed are in decline and building a new high school in Postville at this stage would cause students to move away from Kingscliff," Mr Provest said.
"That movement would mean the higher-level education programs, such as extension maths and engineering, would no longer be available at the school.
"Planning is under way and while there is no definitive date set, Pottsville will get this high school.
"But now is not the right timing."
Ms Szandala said parents contended that the timing was "crucial" and a definitive commitment to a new high school was needed now.
"Tweed Shire Council has reserved land at Seabreeze estate, not indefinitely, for public use," she said.
"Don't allow this opportunity to be blown, Mr Provest.
"We just don't want to hear about delays in finding land, on top of delays in approvals and building, when it becomes painfully clear that a high school should already be here.
"The fate of our children's education, and our family's stability, is in your elected hands."
A protest is planned by the parents campaigning for the school.
They also have a Facebook group called ProposedPottsvilleBeachHS with 600 followers.
"The community is sick and tired of being strung along on this issue, which dates back almost two decades," Ms Szandala said.