Greens call for independent commission to determine where schools are built

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Greens want to take the politics out of where schools would be built, or which ones would be refurbished with the establishment of an Independent Schools Commission, similar to the way the WAEC independently determines electoral boundaries.

Greens North Metro candidate Alison Xamon said the need for such independent decision making was reinforced following a fiery meeting last night where approximately 250 parents of Perth Modern School voiced anger at the proposal to transfer the school to the inner city and reopen Perth Modern as a general intake school.

“For too long now we have seen major decisions taken about which new schools will be opened and which will receive major refurbishments announced at elections and clearly to gain political advantage during the cut and thrust of our elections,” she said.

“This is not the way planning around public education should be made.  Access to public education and quality public education infrastructure is a right that everyone should be able to have regardless as to whether their school happens to land in a marginal seat or not.

“The planning process by which we prioritise which future schools get built or refurbished needs to be completely transparent. 

“An independent Schools Commission need not be onerous and would consist of senior apolitical figures such as representatives from the Education Department, Treasury, and population analysts. 

Ms Xamon said similar to the process for determining boundary redistributions by the WAEC, submissions from the public must be sought and a range of factors would be considered including community concerns. 

“In any event the process needs to be utterly transparent and based on need rather than electoral advantage,” she said.

“Announcements about new schools must never occur out of the blue and people have a right to expect that before commitments are made that communities have been involved in the process. 

“And if a certain area is not prioritised electors have the right to know why one school area has been prioritised over another.”

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