No decision on schools' future - talk is just that

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 11:46 15/01/2014

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The Education Ministry has not made any decision about the future of secondary schools in Blenheim despite rumours to the contrary.

The ministry is in the middle of a two-month public consultation process to see what people want for secondary schools here, before making decisions about multimillion-dollar repairs to buildings at Marlborough Boys' College and Marlborough Girls' College.

Rumours were sweeping town at the weekend that the ministry had made a decision and work could begin in a fortnight's time, with several people approaching the Marlborough Express about it.

However, Education Ministry head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey denied the rumours, saying no decision had been made about the future of secondary schooling in the Marlborough area.

The consultation process under way would not see the ministry recommending a course of action to Education Minister Hekia Parata until the end of February, with further public consultation in May or June after the minister made a decision.

The chairs of both colleges' boards of trustees said they had not heard the rumours.

Boys' College board chairman Tony de Reeper said he had not seen any indication of a predetermined decision from the ministry.

People might be judging the ministry on past actions, he said. From what he had seen, the ministry was genuinely trying to consult in Marlborough.

There were many options to be considered, Mr de Reeper said.

Options included combining the two colleges on either of their current sites. Having both on the boys' college site in Stephenson St would maintain access to the playing fields at College Park.

Marlborough Girls' College board chairman Bernie Rowe said that, after the Christchurch court action over school closures, he thought it unlikely the ministry would make any decisions without public consultation.

The next public meeting on the future of secondary schooling in Blenheim is next Monday at 7pm in the Marlborough Girls' College hall. Submissions are open till February 3, and can be made by writing to Janet Kelly at janet.kelly@xtra.co.nz or 31 Courtney St, Motueka 7120.

 

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- The Marlborough Express

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