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Updated at 3:21 pm on 14 September 2012
Christchurch school leaders are in shock after learning of the Government's plans for closing and merging schools. Thirteen are to close, while 18 will merge as a result of recent earthquakes in the region.
Education Minister Hekia Parata made the announcement at the Lincoln Events Centre on Thursday afternoon, saying the Government will spend $1 billion in the next 10 years renewing the education system in Christchurch and the surrounding area.
The reorganisation comes in the face of a quake repair bill of up to $750 million and the loss of 4500 students.
Ms Parata told principals the rebuild includes some tough decisions.
"At the same time, it's also about propositions for some new opportunities, for some new ways of providing education, for some whole of life campuses, for some shared facilities. And I think those are exciting opportunities - not just for Christchurch - but for the rest of New Zealand to look at and think about."
The Government wants to merge four primary schools and one high school, Aranui High, in the badly-affected eastern suburbs to form a Year 1 to 13 school.
Ferndale School and Linwood College are to be relocated, while schools in Halswell and Pegasus are to be rebuilt.
The Government also suggested closing Shirley Boys' High School and Avonside Girls' High School, or merging them with Christchurch Boys' High School and Christchurch Girls' High School, respectively.
However the ministry has rescinded the proposals, saying geotechnical reports are needed.
The headmaster of Shirley Boys' High School said he was angry the Education Ministry suggested closing or merging his school with Christchurch Boys' High.
John Laurenson said there was no way his school would shut: "I state here and now ... Shirley Boys' High School as a school exists and will continue to exist - mark it. There is no way in God's creation that we cease to exist."
Chisnallwood Intermediate School principal Richard Paton said he had not expected that his school might be closed and merged.
"It was totally unexpected. We knew we were coming to a meeting where there would be possibly changes announced. We were unsure what the format of the meeting would be, but for Chisnallwood Intermediate this is certainly really quite a shock."
The Government says it will consult school communities on the plans.
Banks Avenue School (or relocate and recapitate as a Year 1 to 8 school), Branston Intermediate, Burnham School, Burnside Primary School, Duvauchelle School (becomes a hub of Akaroa Area School), Glenmoor School, Greenpark School, Hammersley Park School, Kendal School, Le Bons Bay School, Linwood Intermediate, Manning Intermediate, Okains Bay School (becomes a hub of Akaroa Area School), Ouruhia Model School and Richmond School.
Schools to become Year 1 to 13: Aranui High School, Aranui School, Avondale School, Chisnallwood Intermediate, Wainoni Primary School.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
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