READER REPORT:

Chch schools: Closing Richmond will cost

IAN BURN
Last updated 09:30 19/02/2013
Richmond primary school
Fairfax NZ

TOUGH CALL: Education Minister Hekia Parata at Richmond Primary School in 2012.

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Why should we close schools when we don't know where the population is going to go, particularly from a close-to-the-inner-city suburb? The government doesn't yet know where new populations are going to go in Christchurch. It's simply guessing, picking (economic) winners, - something which governments are notoriously bad at doing.

My sense is it's more about people who only measure outcomes in terms of dollars, and don't want to even try to measure community, because it might upset their cosy little numerical graphs and the financial markets. It's about protecting the interests of the wealthy, who on the whole pay less tax than everyone else.

Richmond Primary School should stay because it's effectively meeting the needs of a diverse high-needs population. Forcing those families to travel further to school will just further impoverish them.

It should also stay because there are costs in closing a school and then reopening it when population comes back, costs which never seem to make it on to the short timeframe balance sheets of the people making the decisions.

It should stay because having the school there brings income, experience, culture, common purpose and a lot of joy to this suburb.

It should stay because the impact of pupils moving from Richmond to surrounding schools will be profound. Of particular note is Shirley Primary, which is having already to absorb students from Glen Moore and Hammersley Park primary schools, and have new prefabs dropped on its already stretched ground space.

It is closing however because nobody National cares about lives there.

And just a word to local National MP Nicky Wagner, this decision will cost you your seat.


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