Bluestone seeking school zoning

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 21/04/2014
iain bamber
SUPPLIED/ Bluestone School
WANT BEST FOR PUPILS: Bluestone School board of trustees chairman Iain Bamber.

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Bluestone School is proposing reintroducing zoning to cope with its increasing roll.

It is expected pupil numbers will be between 550 and 560 by the end of this year. With zoning, only those living in a specified area are able to be enrolled automatically.

A resolution for zoning was passed at the last board meeting and a public meeting will be held on May 6.

Board of trustees chairman Iain Bamber said consultation with parents took place before the board took the decision to proceed with the zoning process. A consultation process with other local schools would also take place.

He said then it was up to the Ministry of Education to make the final decision.

Without zoning the school was obliged to take every student who applied and it could lead to overcrowding.

"We want to offer the children at the school the best we can," Bamber said.

In 2005 Bluestone School emerged from a merger of Timaru West and Main schools after a ministry district review. It was recapitated to include year 7 and 8.

The zoning was lifted sometime between 2005 and 2010 as the school was not exceeding its capacity, Bamber said.

The decision to proceed with the zoning process had not been taken lightly and the board had kept parents fully informed, he said.

"Responses so far from parents have ranged from parents fully agreeing with zone implementation in order to manage class sizes, to parents of current pupils being concerned that siblings might miss out."

According to the ministry a parent with a child already at the school holds the first priority for a place at the school, in any ballot scenario.

The board, however, can decide where those ballots take place and when they take place in the academic year, Bamber said.

At this stage the streets forming the zone boundary and the ballot process cannot be confirmed but the proposed boundary will be published on Monday, May 5, the day before the public meeting.

"The board hope to answer all questions about the proposed zone and present parents with all the facts surrounding the difficult decision taken . . .

"The board remains powerless to restrict the size of the roll without the implementation of the zone," Bamber said.

It is anticipated the school will have to announce its roll size and the format of the ballot for places in early September.

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- The Timaru Herald

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