School closures going too far, principals warn

11:03 pm on 18 September 2012

The Principals Federation says the Government's plans for reorganising Christchurch schools are not justified.

Last week, the Government announced it plans a $1 billion overhaul of the education system in the city and surrounding area due to recent earthquakes and the number of children that have left the region.

The reorganisation over the next 10 years comes in the face of a quake repair bill of up to $750 million and the loss of 4500 students.

One school earmarked for closure is Ouruhia School, just north of the city. Parents, staff and students met on Monday night and have vowed to fight to keep the school open.

Ouruhia School board member Alex Goodall says the Ministry of Education is mistaken in saying the local population is declining, as four large subdivisions have been approved by the Christchurch City Council.

Mr Goodall says the school would make a formal submission to the ministry during the 12-week consultation period.

Principals Federation vice-president Phil Harding told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme on Tuesday that closing schools is going too far.

"Some schools had to close and we accept that - there was absolute inevitability around some school closure.

"This rationalisation is way beyond the impact of land and building damage - and the proof of that is that schools like Ouruhia ... are perfectly viable to carry on are going to be closed."