State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle today slammed the Labor State Education Minister Grace Grace after their meeting in Parliament House on Thursday 15 November.
“I went to the meeting with head petitioner Debbie Hardie who has been pushing for a State High School to be built at Baringa for the 2020 school year,” Mr McArdle said.
“To be honest, the Minister did listen to the concerns of Debbie but simply failed to comprehend the position the Labor Government has placed the parents and student in, by failing to plan for the High School to open so Year 6 students could transition to Year 7 in 2020.
“When pushed a member of the Ministers office said that the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) course taught at Meridan College was ‘very similar’ to that at Baringa. I’ve been around long enough to understand what the term ‘very similar’ means, in political speak. If they come within cooee of each other it will be a miracle.
After the meeting, Principle Petitioner and mother Debbie Hardie said, “To say the least I am frustrated.”
“I have been fighting for a common sense outcome for a long time and I’m getting nowhere. Children will now have to travel to Meridan State College, on the other side of Caloundra, and then return home to Baringa five days a week and attend other sporting activities or functions.
“All I want is for my children and the children who live in Baringa to be able to go a school in Baringa in 2020 that teaches Year 7. It can’t be that difficult.
“I can’t understand how a Government could plan to build a school for Year 6 students but not understand that those Year 6 students will have to go into Year 7. It is known when that will occur. No thought has been given to the implications of what has taken place,” Mrs Hardie concluded.
“The Minister agreed that the Department will follow whether a bus being can be made available to transport students between Baringa and Meridan State College on a daily basis. At least that is something, but not much,” Mr McArdle said.
“The Minister also said the Department will liaise directly with Meridan State College to get an arrangement in place to help with school uniforms and books required at the college which will be dumped after the students return to the new Baringa State High School when it opens.
“It’s all well and good sitting in George Street with maps, plans, models of schools, and looking at figures on a bit of paper, but they don’t replace the flesh and blood concerns of parents who live in Baringa and the children who will be disrupted by this lack of forward planning.
“Regrettably, single parents or parents who have children attending both Meridan State College and Baringa Primary School, will be greatly disadvantaged.
“This is a very sad outcome but we must get the best we can for people who live in Baringa,” Mr McArdle concluded.