Claims that charter school planned for Bay

By Victoria White

6 comments
Education Minister Hekia Parata was unable to comment on the rumoured charter school.
Education Minister Hekia Parata was unable to comment on the rumoured charter school.

A charter school is being touted for Hawke's Bay.

Last week Labour's Tukituki candidate, Anna Lorck, asked Tukituki MP Craig Foss for assurance that he and the Government was not "working behind the scenes" to create Hastings' first charter school.

Charter schools are privately run, publicly funded and set their own curriculum, school hours, holidays and pay rates.

Yesterday, Ms Lorck again called on Mr Foss to "come clean" on plans for a charter school she claimed was being framed up as a trades school.

Mr Foss is currently in New York, and did not respond to comment last week.

He was unable to comment yesterday.

While Education Minister Hekia Parata was in Hawke's Bay yesterday, she was unable to respond to comment. She was in the region for the start of a series of regional leadership conferences she will be holding around the country.

Held at Ahuriri's East Pier Hotel, a spokeswoman for Ms Parata's office said the conference was attended by members of the education sector.

The forums were about Communities of Learning - an initiative which works to raise achievement for children and young people. Ms Lorck said "Silence speaks volumes". "Is Craig Foss working so far behind the scenes that he's now running an undercover operation in Hawke's Bay for Hekia Parata and the Act Party for a charter school?

"A charter school gets up to four times more funding for students than a public school, they are an education experiment that's proven to fail in other parts of the country," she said.

"Havelock North was promised a new primary school and got eight classrooms, I certainly don't think Hawke's Bay is going to get sucked into thinking we are getting a trades school, when it's a charter school."

Hastings District Councillor Malcolm Dixon, who has been campaigning for a new Havelock North primary school, said he had also heard claims a charter school was being planned.

"I'm sure there's something on the horizon," he said, "I've heard whispers, and not just from [Ms Lorck]."

"As far as charter schools go, both teachers union are dead against them, and they get a disproportionate amount of funding compared to normal state schools just to make them succeed," he said. "I'm completely anti them."

Mr Dixon stressed it was rumour, but a site he heard suggested for the charter school was the Mangateretere site campaigners had suggested earlier for the proposed Kura Kuapapa.

"It's just hearsay, but we're putting two and two together ... it would take that site out of the equation," he said.

There are eight charter schools currently open.

One of the first charter schools, Te Pumanawa o te Wairua at Whangaruru in Northland, was closed last year due to concerns about poor teaching, low achievement and an inadequate curriculum. In total, it cost about $5 million.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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