Westshore school 'won't close on my watch'


 Suggestions that Westshore Primary School would close if it lost its bus service were both "incorrect and dangerous" Napier MP Chris Tremain has said - adding the assurance that the school would never close while he was the city's representative.
"You have my word on that."
Mr Tremain said he had been in discussion with the Ministry of Education and had been told they had "absolutely no intention" to close the school.
While a review of the present school bus service will be carried out next March, there was no long-term plan to close its doors.
Some parents and members of the school's board of trustees had expressed fears the ministry was looking at a long-term plan to eventually close the school and that reducing, then possibly withdrawing, the bus service would accelerate that.
"Not so," Mr Tremain said, adding there was a five-year property fund budgeted for improvements to school buildings.
"If the Ministry had any intention of closure they would have stopped the property budget."
Mr Tremain said suggestions of possible school closure had emerged in a flyer put out by the school's board of trustees and distributed throughout the seaside suburb.
He said the flyer was incorrect in suggesting that if the bus stopped, and affected children switched schools, Westshore School faced closure.
"The bus service is being reviewed in March, 2011, not stopped at this stage.
"Even if it is stopped it is highly improbable that all the parents will change schools. Most will continue to send their kids to Westshore - albeit they will need to find alternative forms of transport."
He believed that saying Bay View pupils would stop attending the school if the bus service stopped was extreme.

"Parents who currently send their kids to Westshore tell me there are great teachers at the school who go beyond the call of duty. As a result there must be other reasons why parents choose to send their kids to Westshore other than the bus service."
Mr Tremain said there was a danger that such rumours had the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
He said the school had no zoning policy in place, had an excellent reputation and was unique in that it had special curriculum aspects in swimming, sailing, surf life saving and the nearby rocky shore.
Parents would get their children there, with or without a bus service, he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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