QUEANBEYAN High School principal John Clark has speculated this week that the school might be sold off by the State Government to fund a new secondary school at Tralee.
Mr Clark said he'd heard the idea floated by a local P&C official, and repeated it to the school community via this week's school newsletter.
"With the announcement of the Tralee development, the push is on to have a high school built to accommodate the Tralee, Jerrabomberra area," Mr Clark wrote.
"The problem is the state government does not have the resources and a suggestion has been made to sell off Queanbeyan High so as to be able to build at Tralee."
The comments come at a time when Tralee developer The Village Building Company is beginning its search for an education provider to run a new secondary school at Tralee.
However, the NSW Department of Education was quick to refute claims Queanbeyan High would be sold off in a statement to
the Queanbeyan Age
No consideration has been given to the speculative option outlined in the newsletter," a department spokesperson said.
"The Department of Education and Communities carefully monitors demographic projections, in consultation with local government and other relevant authorities, to plan for future demands for schools. At this stage, there is no proposal to change arrangements for secondary education in the Queanbeyan area."
Local member for Monaro John Barilaro also insisted that both Queanbeyan and Karabar high schools would continue in their current capacity.
"Karabar and Queanbeyan High Schools will remain a vital part of our local education network," Mr Barilaro said.
"Whether the new high school [at Tralee] will be run by the Government or be independent, is yet to be determined. This decision will be determined in consultation with the local community."
Mr Clark explained to
the Queanbeyan Age
that he felt he needed to raise concerns about Queanbeyan High being sold off with the school community, based on what he'd heard from a local education source.
"It's nothing definite...but I've got to have my community thinking about it, and thinking about what's good and what's negative about it," Mr Clark said.
"So I've just thrown some ideas out there to get parents thinking about it."
There were between 2500 and 3000 secondary students in the Queanbeyan City Council area according to last year's census data, with only 1620 of those students enrolled locally at either Karabar or Queanbeyan High.
The remaining students either cross the border to Canberra each day or attend secondary schools outside the capital region.
That's created a pressing need for a new secondary school in the region, and Village Building Company managing director Bob Winnel said that it would ideally be a non-government option for local parents.
He said the company would first offer the land to the Anglican Dioceses based on community feedback the company has received expressing a desire for a moderate-fee private school in the Jerrabomberra region.
"It seems to me that given the number of secondary students crossing the border into the ACT, given the location of this to service both the inner-south and the whole of Queanbeyan, you would think it's a reasonable proposition for the Anglican School system, but that's a question for them," Mr Winnel said.
"From our discussions with the community there seemed to be a desire for a moderate-fee structured Anglican secondary school. It was just the feedback we were getting locally.
But there are other options we could look at, and they would include talking to the State Government about a secondary school for the Jerrabomberra area. But we'll look at the options once we've had a response from the Anglican Diocese," he said.
The local Anglican Dioceses will also open a primary school at the new township of Googong in the near future, and Mr Winnel said he expected to hear from them about the Tralee secondary school proposal in the coming months, with construction to start on the school this time next year.
"At the most optimistic, you'd see a school open in January 2015," Mr Winnel said.