Residents disappointed at school rezone proposal

Residents in Arataki are frustrated with the plans. File Image. SunLive.

A group of Mount Maunganui residents have expressed their disappointment at rezoning plans that will impact their school.

Residents in Arataki have started a petition titled ‘Do not change the Arataki School zone’ with rezoning in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa set to see the zone for Arataki School on Kaimanawa Street change.

The Ministry of Education is currently asking for consultation on the rezoning via consultancy group D&G Consulting.

Submissions were due to close this Friday, but the Ministry has confirmed an extension has been granted until April 23.

The provisions are being undertaken due to the opening of Te Manawa o Papamoa School in 2022.

The school will have an enrollment scheme home zone which, along with Mount Maunganui College’s own implementation of an enrolment scheme, will have knock on effects for several schools.

The schools impacted are Arataki School, Golden Sands School, Mount Maunganui Intermediate School, Mount Maunganui Primary School, Omanu School, Papamoa College, Papamoa Primary School, Tahatai Coast School and Te Akau Ki Papamoa School.

Two proposals have been put forward regarding the rezoning for Arataki School.

Both proposed changes to the Arataki zone will see the area between Concord Ave and Taupo Ave, including Carysfort St, Leander St and Farm St, excluded along with most of Mangatawa.

The petition argues that this change will “change the heart and story of the Arataki community,” suggesting that removing students from their local school is taking them away from the connection with their area.

They also argue the change will increase travel demands, decrease safety for those having to travel along busier routes, such as Links Ave and Oceanbeach Road, and It is also suggested that Arataki School’s own future plans, based on population growth, could now be scuppered.

The Ministry of Education explains that to manage increasing demand in the area enrolment schemes at Mount Maunganui College and Te Manawa o Papamoa School are needed.

“Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty are one of New Zealand’s fastest growing areas so we are currently consulting with the Papamoa and Mount Maunganui communities about future schooling,” says Katrina Casey, MOE deputy secretary sector enablement and support, before making it clear feedback from the community is important.

“The Ministry is leading the consultation on enrolment schemes as the Education and Training Act now requires this,” she continues.

“The new schemes may have impacts on other schools and require them to amend their current enrolment scheme home zones.

“The future of secondary schooling in the area also needs to be considered, as the population growth will impact on rolls at this level in due course. Our planning for additional provision will be informed by the feedback from the community.

“We’ve met with schools and iwi, held a number of public meetings and have opened a public survey.

“We’ve received over 500 responses to that survey since it opened in March and the closure date for submissions has been extended until April 23. We have also participated in two hui organised by the community in Arataki.

“Themes that have repeatedly come up so far include the quality of teaching and learning, as well as the need for a ‘sense of community’, and the affect changes may have on access to Arataki School’s Reo Rua Maori language programme.”

Another area of concern regarded parents concerned about the enrolment of siblings of current students at the same schools but a six-year transitional statement in the scheme aims to eradicate those fears.

“We expect to have considered the feedback and finalised the enrolment schemes by August,” Katrina says.

“This is in order that communities are clear about where children/students can enrol before the 2022 enrolment begins in September.”

Residents held a meeting regarding the move on Sunday, April 11, and Vicky McGreal, who is involved with the campaign makes it clear on the Make Arataki Safe Again Facebook group that those involved in the petition “fiercely oppose both options” regarding proposed new zones. 

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