The futures of Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School and Bunbury Community School are more secure after talks between Education Department representatives and the City of Bunbury.
Education Minister Colin Barnett announced today Djidi Djidi would remain on its current site at Kelly Park until the end of 2003 and the community school would be offered the chance to buy its current site, the old Picton Primary School.
The agreements were made at talks between the Minister, the Department and City of Bunbury in Perth last week.
“We will continue to lease Kelly Park from the City so Djidi Djidi can use the facilities there for possibly another three years,” Mr Barnett said.
“This will give some stability to the school, which does a wonderful job of educating local Aboriginal students.”
The school, which is an Education Department facility with a board of mainly Aboriginal members, caters for kindergarten to year four students.
It has about 70 students who study in a council-owned building as well as Education Department demountables at Kelly Park.
Mr Barnett said the lease arrangement over Kelly Park would also free up the old Picton Primary School site, to which the department had been considering moving Djidi Djidi, so that Bunbury Community School could remain there.
“Once the lease with council is signed, we will offer the school the chance to buy Picton from the department,” he said.
“We had been holding the site in case we needed it, and we might have for Djidi Djidi, but this is no longer the case so we are offering it to the community school.
“The school has been very keen to remain at the site so I’m sure they will be very pleased with this outcome.”
The old Picton Primary School closed in 1996 after the Education Department built a larger school in nearby Glen Iris.
City of Bunbury mayor John Castrilli, who was party to last week’s talks, said it was a win-win situation for the groups.
“This allows both Djidi Djidi and the community school to stay where they are, where they are happiest,” he said.
“As a council, we’re very pleased with this result.”
Mr Castrilli said the agreement encompassed a number of conditions set by council.
Final approval to lease land within the Kelly Park open space reserve until the end of 2003 would be subject to a public advertising period as required under the Local Government Act.
The agreement included financial compensation being paid to council for the use of Kelly Park as a school site, an annual maintenance fee and provision of additional play equipment.
Mr Barnett said the Education Department and council would continue to work together to investigate options for the long-term accommodation of Djidi Djidi.
Remaining at Kelly Park would be included in these options.
Minister’s office, Diana Callander, 9222 9699
City of Bunbury, CEO Michael Whittaker, 9780 8244