15 Nov 2011

School wants judicial review of closure decision

6:57 am on 15 November 2011

The principal of a school that is to be shut down says the decision was pre-determined and the school wants a judicial review.

Education Minister Anne Tolley intends to close Kawerau Intermediate and Kawerau College and build a new $6 million school for Years 7 to 13.

The existing schools will remain open for one more year and the new school will replace them in 2013.

Kawerau Intermediate Principal Daryl Aim led a 250-strong hikoi to Parliament in May, pushing for his school to remain open.

He says despite a year-long consultation, Mrs Tolley has ignored the wishes of four of the town's six schools, Kawerau District Council and 70% of the town's adult population.

"The whole process was a facade, it was done to tick the box and say we've been through a consultation process. The overwhelming majority of the community are about wanting two primary schools, an intermediate and a college," he says.

The intermediate's Board of Trustees held a community meeting on Tuesday evening for people to express their views and have them included in the school's final submission to Mrs Tolley.

Board chair Petrina Hayes says democracy has failed.

Ms Hayes says the decision to close the two existing schools has created division amongst children, parents, teachers and the community.

A spokesperson for Mrs Tolley says no decision will be made until after a final 28 day consultation period ends.