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Geraldine High School Simon Coleman

by Greta Yeoman

More than 60 submissions were received over the proposed zoning for Geraldine High School, principal Simon Coleman says.

The school’s board of trustees is set to look over the submissions in the coming weeks, before collating them all into a summary to present to the Ministry of Education.

Mr Coleman said the zoning, which was presented in draft form by the ministry earlier this year, had prompted responses from concerned families of potential pupils, along with local businesses and community representatives.

The zone potentially excludes siblings of current pupils, as well as limiting the area from where pupils travel to get to the school – particularly in more rural areas on the outskirts of Geraldine.

Geraldine High School’s roll sits at just over 600 pupils.

The final outcome of the zone is expected to be implemented by 2020.

Mr Coleman said the board of trustees would provide all the submissions, along with recommendations from the board after it had gone through the proposals, to the ministry.

Ministry of Education staff would then consider all submissions over a period of about three weeks and then come and discuss it all with the board, he said.

The submissions were all in opposition to the zoning, but while some opposed zoning full stop, others were just critical of the zone boundaries, Mr Coleman said.

Alongside the official submission process, Orari resident Frances Coles started a petition opposing the zone, which gathered just over 1000 signatures.

Her petition, which will be presented to a Parliamentary select committee, states the zone would exclude “rural families whose community hub is Geraldine”.

More than 800 people signed the petition online, along with a couple of hundred paper signatures.

Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean both accepted the petition on Monday to present it to Parliament.

While it was separate from the submissions and consultation between the Ministry of Education and the school, Mr Coleman expected the ministry would be involved if the committee found “that further information or discussion is needed on the enrolment zone”.

He expected the work by the board to report the contents of the submissions to the ministry would take a few weeks.