Zoning of schools not off table

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 12:00 22/03/2014

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Zoning Nelson city primary schools is still an option to deal with overcrowding, the Ministry of Education says.

Principals from Nelson Central, Hampden Street, Victory Primary and Clifton Terrace have met with the Ministry of Education to discuss overcrowding in some schools.

However, they decided at the meeting plans should be collaborated on with other Nelson city schools, including St Joseph's, Nelson Intermediate, Hira, and Auckland Point.

Nelson Central principal Paul Potaka said he was still not convinced of the need for schools to be zoned.

"At the end of the day it's their scheme (the Ministry of Education). They have more interest in getting this done than we do."

Ministry head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the first meeting was to agree on a process for "identifying options to address crowding issues".

She said the next meeting would include information on crowding issues at schools in the region.

This will include the capacity of the individual schools, roll data, roll projections, and demographic information on the area.

"The reason we are talking to schools about this issue is because we don't want to get into a situation where kids in this area are going to overcrowded schools.

"Enrolment schemes will remain a consideration because they are a valid and cost effective option. However, there may be some other cost effective options that the schools are able to develop that achieve the same result."

Clifton Terrace principal Rob Wemyss said he was concerned that zoning was still on the cards.

He said the meeting they had "looked at ways to address overcrowding without putting in a zone. To go through it, collaborate and all come up with ideas where we are all happy".

"I thought we had established a zone wasn't effective."

He said Nelson may need zoning in the future, but none of the schools at the meeting said it was needed currently. Schools had indicated they could cope with growing rolls without "slapping a zone on them".

In January, the Nelson Mail reported on the ministry'splans to zone Nelson city primary schools this year.

The ministry had proposed that Nelson Central School, Hampden Street School, Clifton Terrace School and Victory Primary School were to be zoned by term three this year.

However, the ministry backtracked after Nelson principals said they were "disappointed" with the announcement and said zoning was unnecessary for the region.

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- The Nelson Mail

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