School closed while fate decided

By ANDREW NEAL

Rissington School has closed its doors to pupils over a number of issues, including building structural deficiencies, while the
Ministry of Education decides its fate.
The nine children attending the school were offered places at neighbouring Patoka School
and a bus service to transport them.
At a meeting on August 9, the entire parent community, board of trustees and principal met with the ministry where it was decided consultation for the closure of the school would begin.
On August 11, the board called an emergency meeting and it was voted the children should be moved out of the school.
In a newsletter to parents on Tuesday, principal Valerie Norris said: "The board made these decisions for the safety of the students and because of personal liability.
"The board and parents were informed that the school had been classed as Grade E."
The school was empty yesterday when Hawke's Bay Today visited and several calls were not returned.
The minutes of the August 9 meeting explained there were several "triggers" for the consultation and closure.
"The cost to rectify structural deficiencies and an associated legal and consequential building issues", were some. 
Other triggers include roll decline, lack of pre-school children and accessibility to other schools.
The minutes said the school's blocks were not classified as dangerous by Hastings District Council, however, it was not earthquake safe.
Yesterday, the ministry said  no decision had been made on Rissington's future but confirmed it was in consultation for a possible closure.
This is expected to occur over the next few weeks and a final decision from the Minister of Education is not expected until the final term of this year.
Only the minister can determine the future of the school.
If the school is closed permanently, then Puketapu and Eskdale schools would be required to extend existing enrolment scheme home zones to the mid-points of the new transport entitlement zones.
A meeting is to be held in the school's community room for the wider Rissington community on Monday at 6pm.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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