Critics of a Ministry of Education proposal to move special needs children out of residential care say they will be worse off if the plan goes ahead.
The country's four residential care facilities have until the middle of June to comment on the proposal that involves the children living at home and attending their local school.
Salisbury School board chair Helen McDonnell says the ministry is taking a one-size fits all approach and it will not work for all children with special needs.
Ms McDonnell says many of the girls at her Nelson residential school have come from local schools and are flourishing in the residential environment.
McKenzie School in Christchurch cares for children with behavioural issues. Principal Greg Healy says it will be difficult for some rural schools to replace the care that is currently provided by residential facilities.
The Ministry of Education says it has not reached a final decision and will consider consultation from relevant groups before moving ahead with its proposal.