The results of a Hawea community survey about future education are in and it appears the Ministry of Education could have a battle to convince the community just one school is required in the area.
Nearly 70% of respondents want two schools — one at Hawea Flat (population about 680) and the other in the Lake Hawea village (population about 1880).
The majority of those who want one school want it in the village (17%). The remainder (13%) want it at Hawea Flat.
The survey was created on the Survey Monkey platform by school parent Anna van Riel.
She organised a forum last month with the Shaping Our Futures team to talk through the ministry’s controversial plans to move the semi- rural Hawea Flat School to a new site 9km away in the Lake Hawea village within the next decade.
It’s not yet clear exactly where the ministry wants to buy land. The ministry has said it would use public works legislation to acquire it.
‘‘I wish I’d added: ‘If it goes ahead, where do you propose the new school could go?’ Got to love hindsight. We could run that past everyone at a later date perhaps,’’ Ms van Riel said.
She has also made an Official Information Act (OIA) request to the ministry regarding its school planning in Hawea.
‘‘Whatever the outcome for Hawea, the key thing is that we feel informed as a community and that we were part of making a decision that is fit for purpose for the steady growth in our town, our families, our teachers and for our tamariki,’’ she said.
She planned to organise another public meeting in August to discuss the ministry’s response to her OIA request, she said.
Ministry principal adviser official and parliamentary information Cindy McDonald said in a letter to Ms van Riel the statutory 20 working days timeframe for responding had to be extended as she had requested a lot of information.
‘‘You can now expect to receive a response to your request on or before 26 August 2022,’’ Ms McDonald said.
The ministry said in a newsletter to the Hawea Flat School community in late May ‘‘Hawea Flat School will continue — just in a new place’’.
‘‘It won’t be a second school, as we believe one larger school can meet the future needs of this community.’’