Errors in data used for schools revamp
The Education Ministry has admitted it used incorrect data when planning the drastic shakeup of Christchurch schools.
Secretary for Education Lesley Longstone said last night there were errors in data about the number of buildings on school sites, when she was grilled on Campbell Live.
"I accept there are three cases, that you have pointed out to us, where the number of buildings is not the right number of buildings. One is a transcription error."
She put the other mistakes down to "interpretation" of what constitutes a building and that the ministry counted all buildings on Crown land "irrespective" of whether they formed part of a school.
It was a reversal of the response given to The Press last month, when a ministry spokesman said: "Schools can have confidence the proposals are based on the best information to hand, which has been drawn from a variety of sources and provided in good faith."
After the education announcement last month, schools were given an information pack detailing the March 2012 roll, the number of buildings on site and quake damage to them.
Many principals raised concerns that the proposals to close 13 schools, merge 18 into nine, relocate seven and close another five and make them part of a single campus in Aranui, were based on incorrect data.
Ouruhia School principal Mark Ashmore-Smith, whose school is earmarked to close, was shocked to discover his school had more buildings than he was aware of, all of which had quake damage.
He told The Press: "This is misleading. I invite you to come round with a magnifying glass to try and find this damage. And I'm not even sure if we have nine buildings."
The school library where numerous community meetings have been held about the future of the school was deemed not cost-effective to repair, which he disputed.
Longstone last night reiterated the consultation that began last week was genuine.
"We want to sit down with the schools and work through the data," she said. "If there are issues, we will work them through with individual schools and this is absolutely genuine consultation."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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