Barr loses track of his students in Towards 2020 upheaval

Mr Andrew Barr MLA, the Minister for Education and Training, has refused to provide a report on the geographic distribution of ACT students amongst government schools, leading to the conclusion that his Department does not routinely maintain its own records of student information.

Without such basic information about his students, how does the Minister propose to assess the gains he claims were to be made by Towards 2020, including closing a large number of schools? Continue reading “Barr loses track of his students in Towards 2020 upheaval”

Economists Say Budget Surplus is Unjustified

Several well-known economists have criticised the large Budget surplus recorded by the ACT Government. They have accused the Government of poor economic management and they all say that the Government should be spending some of the surplus instead of sitting on it.

ANZ Chief Economist, Saul Eslake, was not impressed with the ACT Government’s financial management. He said that the ACT surplus stood out from that recorded by other states. “It’s a big miss, it’s hard to understand,” he told the Canberra Times (17 August).

Mr. Eslake said that the surplus raised questions as to whether school closures had to be so severe.

Continue reading “Economists Say Budget Surplus is Unjustified”

Flynn and friends raise $50,000 and survive ‘strike out’

The Flynn Primary School Parents and Citizens Association has lodged the $50,000 required to continue its legal challenge to school closures and survived an application to ‘strike out’ the action in the ACT Supreme Court today. Continue reading “Flynn and friends raise $50,000 and survive ‘strike out’”

ACT Legislative Assembly Estimates Committee, 20 June – our correspondent Verity Warn reports

This was my first venture into an Estimates Committee session, and I have to say, it was a particularly entertaining introduction.

Trevor and I both decided it would be fun to head on in and watch the committee ask questions of Minister Barr. I personally was hoping to see a bit of squirming. My trusty and sensible chaperone did consider chaining me down before proceedings began, but after I promised to behave myself he decided to give me the benefit of the doubt. I was bitterly disappointed to learn that I was not going to be allowed to “Boo!” and “Hiss!” Apparently proceedings were meant to be more formal than that. So, taking a deep breath, I sat neatly in my chair, pulled out my pen and notepad, and presented the room with a perfectly behaved me. Continue reading “ACT Legislative Assembly Estimates Committee, 20 June – our correspondent Verity Warn reports”

Dismay from Cook P&C

Cook Primary School Parents & Citizens Association is dismayed that the large 2007 ACT Budget surplus has confirmed that the ACT Government’s massive program of school closures is unwarranted.

Any competent government would only have opted as a last resort for large scale school closures, with the associated distress and anxiety inflicted across the Canberra community.

Instead, the Stanhope Labor Government has blundered its way through a series of unwawrranted, knee-jerk measures in recent months, on the spurious grounds of averting acute financial collapse in the ACT.

The decisions on cuts to bus services, and hospital pay parking, have been reversed.

We can only hope that the Government will, belatedly, see reason and reverse its appalling school closures decisions.

Debbie Newton, School closures community liaison officer,
Cook P&C

7 June 2007

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Consultations on Future Uses of Closed School Sites

The Minister for Territories and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves, has announced a two-stage community consultation process on the future use of schools and pre-schools closed at the end of last year.

Primary schools in Flynn, Hall, Chifley (Melrose), Mt. Neighbour, Rivett, Tharwa and Weston closed at the end of 2006. Also included in the consultation process are two former primary school sites in Downer and North Curtin. Continue reading “Consultations on Future Uses of Closed School Sites”

Why No Cost-Benefit Study of Towards 2020?

The ACT Government has failed to do a cost-benefit study of the Towards 2020 Plan despite its own policy in support of such analyses of major policy initiatives and despite the requirement of the Education Act to assess the impact of school closures proposals. Continue reading “Why No Cost-Benefit Study of Towards 2020?”