PEOPLE POWER: How community plans to fight ‘mega school’
AN UPRISING of Murwillumbah parents, students and past teachers have joined together in an attempt to stop a new mega school pegged to open in four years time.
The State Government revealed a radical plan to close four Murwillumbah schools - Murwillumbah High School, Murwillumbah Public School, Murwillumbah East Public School and Wollumbin High School - last week to combine them into one campus on the re-developed 15 acre site of MHS.
Murwillumbah resident Kylie Rose explained the shock announcement left many, including teachers, feeling blindsided after hearing from the media their school would close.
"We didn't get to tell our kids, they lined up everyone in assembly to tell them their schools closing … my kids burst into tears," she said.
"And to do this in a year with COVID where everything has been so up in the air for them … to take that away pull the rug away … it defies belief."
Ms Rose, who is part of an online group called 'Save Murwillumbah Schools' that is lobbying to stop the conglomeration, said locals would welcome $100 million spent in the area but there were different ways funds could be used for better outcomes for community.
"Our main concern apart from the lack of consultation is that we are being used as a guinea pig to trial the idea of closing down small schools to create a mega school," she said.
"People keep referencing when the Ballina High Schools joined but that is very new and doesn't involve K through to 12. This is the first time they are trialling something like this in a regional area."
Ms Rose said she choose her children's schools because of the size and small class sizes and worries that children would get lost in the crowd a 1500 student campus.
Ms Rose also expressed concerns about loosing the history of the schools, many of which had generations of the same family attend.
"These schools are more than just an education, they are community," Ms Rose said.
Save Murwillumbah Schools and community stakeholders have launched an ePetition to reverse the schools' closure decision.
"We need 20,000 signatures to force a debate in Parliament and we know that is a big ask so we are asking everyone to share the link and sign up," she said.
The group has also started a letter-writing campaign targeting politicians, councillors and journalists.
"These people need to know we oppose this idea for the community," Ms rose said.
"We have another campaign which is student driven, the kids have decided they really want to be involved in this, our children are making up their own signs for their yards or in their windows, it's a great way for kids to make feel empowered.
"I've been contacted by parents, past students, past teachers and current students and as a whole they are absolutely opposed this idea, they are ready and willing to help in anyway to make our voices heard."