Rangiora High School – Common Sense Must Prevail

(PR.co.nz) The Rangiora High School Board of Trustees regrets the confusion that has arisen over its move to take back land and building it owns in Wales Street Rangiora and wishes to clarify the situation in the public interest.

The Rangiora High School Nursery School has never owned the Wales Street site. In law the Nursery School Management Committee has acted as an agent of the Board in a custodial role. The Board is asking for relocation at this time and not closure and it is important to note that such a request is not unprecedented. The Nursery School has been closed twice, once in 1946 and then again in 1974. It was as well relocated in 1947. These arrangements came about when the school could demonstrate a significant, genuine and justified need for the site. It is a significant, genuine and justified need for the Wales Street site that drives the Rangiora High School Board of Trustees’ decision at this time. The Board acts in the best interests of the 1800 secondary school students and their families who currently attend the school. That is its core business.

Over the past six years the Rangiora High School Board of Trustees has spent $8M on property development, including $2.1M in 2010 to structurally re-strengthen and refurbish B, C and D Blocks. As well, since 2008 the Board has spent $1M of Board funds on the students and staff of Rangiora High School. Board funds cannot be spent on building classrooms as the Ministry of Education will not approve Board funded buildings on Ministry of Education owned land.

Rangiora High School has experienced consistent roll growth over the last nine years. In 2003 the school’s roll was 1275, in 2012 it was 1803. This sustained roll growth has seen many students housed in temporary Ministry owned prefabricated buildings which were moved onto the school’s campus in 2006. Due to the Canterbury earthquakes the school is experiencing significantly higher roll growth than was expected and according to Simon Cruikshank, Regional Property Manager for the Ministry of Education, the temporary accommodation required to meet these roll numbers is the worst he has seen in the South Island.

The significant health and safety issues affecting the current facility the department occupies has influenced the Board’s decision to relocate the Teaching and Learning Department onto the Wales Street site at this time. The old school hostel in East Belt that currently accommodates the staff and students in the department is nearly derelict and was due for demolition in 2006. However it has been home to students and staff long past what is reasonable because there simply was no alternative accommodation on the school’s campus.

With the forced separation of the Nursery School from the High School in 2010; the requirement to establish a separate legal entity in 2011, and the clear message to the Board from the Ministry of Education that the provision of early childhood education was not its core business in 2012, the Board resolved to use an asset it holds under High School Reserves to provide facilities for its core business.

Media Release 21 October 2012.