The NSW Department of Education’s decision to scrap Jerrabomberra school zoning regulations may have unintended consequences for a Queanbeyan school, which fears it could lose staff and students as a result.
While the decision was popular in Jerrabomberra, the parents and citizens association at Queanbeyan South Public School say it could lead to reduced funding, staff and students.
A Queanbeyan South P&C spokesperson acknowledged the Department of Education had worked with school principals over a long period of time to redraw the school zones, to accommodate the new public schools opening in the area.
Overturning the proposed zoning for Jerrabomberra Public School took away the balance the department sought when drawing up the zones, the P&C said.
It said, in addition to the loss of enrolments expected when Googong Public School opens, Queanbeyan South Public School would now lose further enrolments from the catchment that was previously allocated to Queanbeyan South.
P&C president Tamara Lawson-Moore said Queanbeyan South would lose about 130 currently enrolled students when Googong opens and more as a result of the backflip.
“With the overturning of the NSW Department of Education’s current zoning policy, by local member Nichole Overall, our school is now expected to lose approximately 250 students in the coming years,” she said.
“With these reduced numbers, our school budget will be impacted which means we would lose funding to have extra activities and events at our school to support our students.
“Our staff members will decrease, which will impact student learning and educational opportunities.”
This included the possibility of one-on-one learning support being reduced.
The Queanbeyan South P&C has now created a petition calling for the zoning across all Queanbeyan-Palerang schools to be reviewed, to ensure fair and equitable distribution of resources.
“The zoning model run by the department ensures funding is provided equitably across the region, this is why our local schools have thrived over the last decade,” a P&C committee member said.
“By overturning the Jerrabomberra zoning before the consultation process had run its course, the minister denied the department a response to feedback received and the reversal of the zoning for a select area takes away from the equitable distribution of resources.
“Our focus is on ensuring equity across all the public schools.”
The petition will be presented to the Member for Monaro Nichole Overall, the Education Minister, and the Department of Education.
Ms Overall said she had been advised the department was considering multiple options for Queanbeyan South Public School.
“Making decisions about the best way to allocate education resources across the community is complex,” Ms Overall said.
“People will always have differing views and strongly held opinions on this.
“I have made it clear I want the best solutions for the whole of our community.”