ACT Opposition Leader Bill Stefaniak and his education spokesperson Vicki Dunne said they would oppose the Government’s proposed school closures.
Mrs Dunne told The Canberra Times she thought the Government had not adequately explained why some schools would be closed and not others. She also said the estimated savings from closures would not justify the damage and upheaval cause by the policy because they would only be 2 per cent of the education budget.
Mr Stefaniak conceeded some school closures are needed at times, but described the scale of planned closures as “draconian”.
The Liberals also oppose the moves to change the age structure of schools — such as adding Years 5 and 6 to high schools — saying that these changes were “experimental and unproved”.
The ABC reports education minister Andrew Barr has said the Government will not be swayed by one-off protests such as the walkout by Kambah High students this morning.
“I recognise that that involves some difficult transitions and difficult issues for some school communities to deal with,” he said. “But in the end the Government’s intent is to ensure that we have the strongest possible public education system.”
He also said that special needs units at schools slated for closure, such as the autism one at Rivett Primary, will be reopened at other schools in the the area.
Mr Barr has set up public meetings over the next few weeks to discuss the proposed school closures. All meetings will run from 7-8.30pm. The details are:
* Monday June 19 at Amaroo School for the Gungahlin region
* Tuesday June 20 at the Phillip campus of Canberra College for the Woden region
* Wednesday June 21 at Stromlo High for the Weston Creek region
* Monday June 26 at Copland College for the north-west Belconnen region
* Tuesday June 27 at Canberra High for the south-east Belconnen region
* Wednesday June 28 at Telopea Park School for the South Canberra region
* Thursday June 29 at Caroline Chisholm High for Tuggeranong
* Monday July 3 at Campbell Primary for the North Canberra region
(Interesting to note none of these venues are schools included in the closure lists).