School Merger Updates - Don't take the Central out of Brighton Submission re proposed merger March 2013
Our stance March 2013 Background Information
· In September 2012 the Minister of Education proposed that CNB school would merge with SNB school on their site. No date or time frame was in this initial proposal. The reasons stated were- shifts in population, costs associated with getting existing buildings up to post-earthquake standards and land damage.
(Our school land has had very little damage: no liquefaction during any earthquakes or obvious cracks and we are rated TC2. The cost to get our buildings up to code is in full dispute as all scope of works we have received have had errors in them. The latest scope was received at the end of February 2013 and it is incorrect on a number of issues. It has no costings associated with it yet the Ministry can say it will cost $4.4 million to repair us. What is the basis for this figure? We have lost 68 pupils since the 2011 earthquake. Having said that we have enrolled ten new families this year so we believe people are moving back into the area and will continue to do so as more accommodation is repaired and becomes available.)
· At the end of September 2012 we received a letter stating that no closure would take place before 2016- we used this assurance as a key foundation in our consultation process with our community in October and November.
“On 13 September 2012, I announced a number of proposals for education renewal in the greater Christchurch area. Included in that announcement was a proposal about the merger of central New Brighton School on the the South New Brighton site. The date of this proposed merge is the beginning of 2016.” Signed Hekia Parata
· We have now heard back from the Minister to say the merger will take place but that it will be effective from January 2014 – two years earlier than previously stated. The reasons stated for this earlier merger is to ‘ provide certainty for both school communities.” We suggest just the opposite, it is a further blow to a community that is still suffering within their daily lives from the effects of the earthquakes. This school staff have been the one stable influence and now these upheavals are likely to cause more anxiety, angst and stress to families and children.
Our current position:
We are strongly opposed to any merger for all the reasons we put in our original submission in December 2012 however we suspect that the merger is inevitable. Therefore the focus of our next submission in March will be twofold:
· If the merger is to go ahead we suggest that Central New Brighton School is made the continuing school : that is locate the new school here.
o Better land – TC 2
§ Easier to build on (less restrictions re foundations, height, structures etc)
§ Lack of previous land damage – sits within ‘golden mile’ a small strip of eastside land that has already shown it is capable of withstanding the forces of mother nature.
§ Safer for our children overall
o Closer to a bridge and more exit points if an event occurs and the school needs to be evacuated.
o Less threat from a tsunami – not within the flood plain
o Part of a bigger, longer term picture for re-vitalising the East - a new school in Central New Brighton should be an integral part of future plans for the east.
o Potential to purchase the old ‘Countdown Supermarket” site that borders the eastern side of the school to accommodate more classrooms/ more children.
o Strong existing resources with two school pools and a large hall.
o Initially this will mean a larger number of children being displaced and having to travel however we believe this to be out-weighted by the benefits.
· That the time frame be extended to 2016;
o Psychological needs of families and community- stress and anxiety caused by the events of 2011 and subsequent events.
§ Many families are still dealing with EQC and insurance issues and living in sub-standard conditions. Extending the time frame will allow some stability and equilibrium to return to other aspects of home life before disrupting schooling. School has been the one stable factor in lives. Keep it that way for the next three years.
o The process of a merger needs more time to follow so appointments of staff and boards can be made and the transition for children can be managed.
o Buildings need to be erected before schools merge allowing for as little disruption as possible to learning
o Stating the date of 2016 as part of the original proposal created ‘legitimate expectations” for our staff and school community
§ New students have been enrolled believing they had three years at our school.
§ Houses have been rented believing CNB would remain open for three years
§ Staff have been employed.
§ Work has been completed on the hall and pool area.
These wiil be the main points, with evidence to the Minister in March. Submission to Minister - full version Executive Summary - click link Two video clips - the first one shares our concerns about the merger http://vimeo.com/52803502 The second clip shares our vision for the futrue of education in Brighton. http://vimeo.com/52805615 Letter writing campaign. Write a letter to the Minister of Education and express your concerns. Click on the following link for a letter template, fill in your address, sign it and drop it into school or post it directly to the Minister (no stamp needed!) The Minister of Education - Hekia Parata The Government Wellington
Ministers Visit We have had it confirmed that the Minister of Education will be visiting our school next Friday – November 2 at 10:30. We will begin with a powhiri in the school hall. As a community this is our chance to ask questions of the minister and to share our concerns. It also the chance to share our vision for the future of education at CNB.
It is vital that we are respectful and responsible in our dealings with the Minister. We will not be doing ourselves any favours if we become abusive or belligerent.
Community Day We are planning a community day on Tuesday 23 October starting at 12pm. Please support us, come along, hear what we have to say! 12 pm gates open and general activities lunch provided by Savation Army-sausage sizzle Best scooter decorated competition Displays in classrooms of achived items eg - school photos through time Consultation room -opportunity to fill in response if you haven't done it yet The Vision - display of what our future 'learning hub' may look like letter writing opportunities -templates available for parents to write · Art activities - banners, fence art, mural painted bouncy castle up and running, pirates entertaining TED EX / Inside Out- photos being taken - sharing information about the project 1pm Official welcome by our kapahaka group in the school hall Speakers
2 pm Closing celebration Swim in school pools
Community Consultation - click linK - red writing All community members ( past and present families as well as local business people) are invited to complete a consultation sheet. School parents will recieve a survey form on Wednesday 26th Septmeber. Other people can print a form from here. Please return these to our school office by Friday September 28th. Letter from Board Chair to community - click link -red writing
Watch CTV on demand 'One on One'Friday 21st for interview with Jo Kane and Toni Burnside Message sent to the Press Wednesday 19 sept Kia ora Nicole ( writer for The Press) We are a small school - with a huge HEART -120 children (pre feb 2011 we were 170 children) We feel as if the 2011 earthquakes knocked us to the ground but this announcement has the potential to rip the heart out of our community.
We accept ther may need to be some rationalisation of resources (if you are solely driven by money) however a school is not just numbers and it's not just buildings. A school is its people and here at CNB the children are always at the center of our decision making. This seems not to be the case with the government. Hence the decision to MERGE us with another school and save money! We have several concerns: What exactly does merge mean? Does it mean that we have two schools coming together where a team of people (Boards and Staff ) will work hard to re- vision, re-brand and team build so a whole new learning environment is created that best meets the needs of the new community. Does this mean a new school name, new uniform and a new direction with the needs of the newly created community paramount! or does it mean one smaller school being taken over by the other school and business as usual for the 'continuing school' with a few more chairs in the staff room to accomodate the new staff?
I hope it means the first option because if it does it could be really exciting for our children and community. If not then I am horrified and think our children who have already suffered enough UPHEAVAL in the last 18 months will be futher stressed and traumatised.
The needs and makeup of our school community are completly different from South New Brighton. This is partly shown by the difference in our decile ratings, e.g., we are decile 2 and South are a 5. Will our students get all the support and understanding they need in the new school without the extra funding a decile 2 school gets.
We also have huge concerns about the fact that SNB has been deemed as the proposed continuing school. This would mean that we would have to move down there. Our land has no damage! We had no liquifaction! They still have some issues with sewerage and their land is damaged! We also have two other factors in our favour, our two school pools (one of 25 metres) and a large school and community hall. They don't!
Our major concern is for the safety of our children. How will they get to and from school ( many of our parents don't have cars)? What about the roads and how far they are from the closest bridge if there is another quake or similar event and a fast exit needs to be made?
We had a huge turn out of concerned parents last Friday morning to our first community meeting where we shared the news about our proposed merger. Now we are waiting for more specific information at future meetings so that we can strategically plot our path ahead.
We have just published a community newsletter that celebrates who we are and shares our concerns. This will go out to 350 households in our local area in order to keep everyone informed.
On our wesite we have created a special page so that we can keep you informed and add information as it comes to hand. Next term we are planning to hold a community day at school so that we can consult with you, share information and get feedback from our wider community in order to represent the views and concerns of you all.
He aha te mea nui o te ao? Maku e ki atu he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in the world? I say it is the people, the people, the people.
Sadly I don't think Minister Parata believes this.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our concerns. I have attached our community newsletter so you can get a feel for us as a school. Watch CTV News on Demand Friday 14th September for interview.
Initial Information - Thursday 13 September For the last six months the government have been evaluating and reviewing education in Christchurch in light of the 2011 earthquakes. As you know land and buildings in the Eastern suburbs have been badly affected. The number of children attending schools on our side of town has also dropped.
Today Liarne (BOT chairperson) and I attended a meeting with all other Christchurch school principals and Board chairpersons. At this meeting it was announced that 13 schools in Christchurch would close and 18 would merge with another school. It has been proposed that we merge with South New Brighton school and that the new school that is formed will be located in South Brighton.
There are many steps involved in this proposed merger, consultation with our communities and some new classrooms to be built. Therefore school at Central New Brighton will continue as it is for the rest of this year and most likely all of 2013. Our teachers and support staff will all be forming a part of the new school.
It is anticipated the new school, formed by the merger of our two schools, will be officially opened in 2014.