Greens condemn decision to close Wollombi Public School
Media release: 12 November 2014
The decision to close Wollombi Public school shows that the NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli is out of touch with the needs of small rural communities, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: “The Department and the Minister set out to get rid of Wollombi and so far they are succeeding.
“The children and their parents want to continue their enrolment at this school. The community has shown that it values the school. The Council has expressed its concerns that the school remain open.
“It is a clear case of the Baird-Grant government is riding roughshod over the wishes of the community and their elected representatives.
“A National Party Education minister should understand the needs of small communities but it appears that in this case he does not care.
“Despite deliberate attempts by the Department of Education to drive parents away, the school continued to provide high quality education.
“Denying the school a permanent principal was just one tactic used to undermine community confidence.
“If this had been anything but a pre-determined outcome, there would have been a permanent principal looking out for the school, fighting for it in the bureaucracy and encouraging parents to enrol their children.
“Mr Piccoli feels that a school with five students is no longer viable, despite prospects for much greater enrolments in the longer term.
“He thinks that it is ok to reject the concerns of the local council and the community and shut a school that has excellent prospects for increasing enrolments.
“The Minister’s comments should strike fear into the hearts of every parent of a child at a small school anywhere in NSW,” Dr Kaye said.
Cessnock Councillor James Ryan said: “In closing Wollombi Public School not only has the Minister ignored the needs of the Wollombi community he has snubbed the entire Cessnock area by refusing to meet with the Mayor of Cessnock on this issue.’
“There is always two sides to every story. All Minister Piccoli ever heard was the views of public servants charged with meeting a budget.
“He closed Wollombi School without ever taking the trouble to listen to what the parents, residents and local Council had to say.
“I call that arrogant,” said Clr Ryan.
For more information:
John Kaye 0407 195 455
Cr James Ryan 0414 922 591