Queenstown’s St Joseph’s School is considering a move to Frankton.
The school’s future will now be decided by a survey of Queenstown’s Catholic community, sent out two weeks ago.
The survey is canvassing two options: redevelop the school’s existing site near the town centre, or build a new campus for 300 pupils in Frankton’s Remarkables Park.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunedin general manager Gerald Scanlan, who leads the working group steering the issue, says there are “no quick or easy answers”.
Scanlan says it is aiming to get at least 200 responses from members of the school community, parish and pre-schools in the area.
It expected to collate the results next month.
“We want to do this in as open and consultative way as possible so the local voice is well and truly heard.”
The results will be shared with the Ministry of Education, which is undertaking a pre-consultation process on the future of schooling in the Wakatipu Basin.
The ministry will play a major role if the school relocated to Frankton, as a new campus would need to fit into the national network and require significant capital funding, Scanlan says.
The working group has registered its interest in a Remarkables Park site next to the new Wakatipu High School campus, which opens in 2018.
A new parish church and presbytery could also be built there.
If St Joseph’s stays where it is, it would eventually need to be redeveloped to accommodate the region’s increasing school-aged population.
Scanlan says he hopes a decision would be made by the end of the year.
“Everyone’s looking for momentum – this has hung around for a while.”
St Joseph’s School principal Trisch Inder said the goal was to future-proof Catholic education in the area so that families had a choice.
The school’s present role of 143 meant its “market share” of the basin’s primary school-aged pupils was about 5 per cent. Catholic schools in other parts of the Otago-Southland diocese typically had 10 per cent.
The survey will help find out why that is the case, she says.
Otago Daily Times