More Meaningless Rhetoric on Community Consultation

The Chief Minister’s proposals for the reform of community consultation processes in the ACT amount to more meaningless rhetoric from a Government under pressure.

The Chief Minister is only promising superficial change, not real change. All he has done is to serve up more bureaucratic drivel that fails to deal with the key failures in community consultation.

The big failure of the Stanhope Govt on community consultation has been its use of sham consultations to get a pre-determined outcome. This is what it did in the case of the W. Belconnen super-school and the school closure program. It had made up its mind before the consultations began.

What the Chief Minister has to do to make real change is to commit to full open consultations processes, not sham consultations.

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Media Release 30 May 2008 – Rich Families Benefit Most from Over-Funding of Private Schools

A study of the SES funding model for private schools released today shows that two-thirds of all private school students are over-funded and that schools serving the wealthiest families are vastly more over-funded than those serving low income families. Continue reading “Media Release 30 May 2008 – Rich Families Benefit Most from Over-Funding of Private Schools”

Communities Face Sell-Off of Green Space Around Closed Schools

Save Our Schools today released figures which show that over 70% of ‘green space’ of 8 closed school sites is being considered for sale by the ACT Government.

SOS spokesman, Trevor Cobbold, said that the implications of the proposed sell-off should be canvassed at public meetings beginning this week on the future closed school sites.

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Media Release 23 June 2008 – Government Divided on School Site Sell-Off

Save Our Schools called on the Government to clarify its position on the sell-off of closed school sites. SOS spokesman, Trevor Cobbold, said that statements by Government Ministers show that they are divided about the future of the sites. Continue reading “Media Release 23 June 2008 – Government Divided on School Site Sell-Off”

Govt. is in a Dither over Closed School Sites

The ACT Government is in a complete dither about what to do with the closed school sites. On the one hand, it has a report from Purdon Associates that says “sell, sell, sell”. However, the problem for the Government is that the report also reveals strong community opposition to selling off school buildings and ‘green space’.

There is a stark contrast between the recommendations of the Purdon’s report and the outcomes of the consultation it conducted with regional and local communities last year. The report recommended partial or full re-development of each closed school site (except Hall and Tharwa), while retaining some parts for community use.

It also found that there is a strong community preference for the buildings and grounds to be retained for community use. There was very limited community support for re-development of the sites.

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Media Release 10 June 2008 – School Consultation Contract Didn’t Go To Public Tender

Save Our Schools today called on the Acting Chief Minister to explain why the contract for the latest school site consultation was not subject to public tender. SOS spokesman, Trevor Cobbold, said that the Government exempted the contract from the normal public tender process for government contracts over $100 000 and has failed to justify the exemption. Continue reading “Media Release 10 June 2008 – School Consultation Contract Didn’t Go To Public Tender”

Minister for Education Disowns Budget Figures

At the Budget Estimates hearings last week on education, the Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, effectively disowned the Chief Minister’s budget figures. The Minister resorted to producing ‘rubbery’ figures not reported in the Budget Papers in order to give the appearance of a real increase in government school funding for 2008-09.

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A Message of Support From Save Our Schools

Save Our Schools has sent a message of support to the Hemmant school community in Brisbane who are fighting against their school closing.

Hemmant is a small school of 90 students supported by a very committed parent community. The Queensland Minister for Education wants to combine it with up to 4 other primary schools into one with over 900 enrolments. The school has been the hub of the community for 144 years with all buildings heritage listed. It appears that the Government wants to sell off the land. Continue reading “A Message of Support From Save Our Schools”

False Claims by Minister on ACT Budget

The ACT Government has claimed that it is increasing per capita funding for government schools in 2008–09 by 8% in real terms (that is, adjusted for inflation) and total real funding by 6%, contrary to the figures provided in its own budget papers.

The claims are made in a paper selectively circulated by the Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, which purports to refute the analysis of the schools Budget published by Save Our Schools. Evidently, the Government has been stung by criticism of the Schools Budget by SOS.

The Minister’s claims are false. At best, there is no increase in real funding available for government schools in 2008-09. In fact, real funding is likely to decline. The mistakes in the paper reflect either deliberate misinformation or extraordinary ignorance about the Budget Papers.

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