Southern Downs council weighs in on school closure
A PROPOSED school closure in the Southern Downs will be a major talking point for councillors heading into their final meeting for 2016 tomorrow.
The State Department of Education and Training has highlighted Tannymorel State School for closure next year due to a lack of enrolments in the New Year.
In correspondence to DETE, Mayor Tracy Dobie wrote the council did not support the removal of educational infrastructure or teaching services from the region.
Councillors will vote whether they will lodge a submission with the department at their meeting tomorrow.
"Even though this is a State Department issue it's important for us as councillors for the future of our region," Cr Dobie said yesterday.
"There may not be the enrolments there now but in a year or two there may be more kids in the area.
"It doesn't matter whether it's a rural or urban area, demographics change.
"That is why, if we make a submission, we would be proposing the school is 'mothballed' and used for some other purpose in the community while there are no enrolments.
"We understand a submission to the State Department at this stage would not change the outcome but we're asking for considerations for the future."
There is only one student enrolled at Tannymorel State School, which opened in 1914, and enrolments have been declining for years.
Cr Dobie said a council submission would request the department consulted with the Tannymorel community to ensure school resources were appropriately distributed to nearby schools, and with TransLink to provide transport for future students.
The submission would also include a suggestion for DETE to facilitate a farewell event for past members of the school community.
Cr Dobie said the region had high-quality education facilities which were a major drawcard.
"We have 36 schools in the Southern Downs and how parents access them and the number of teachers we have in our region is important to us," she said.
"We have highly regarded education and it is a means by which we can further promote the region."