Shana Skinner from Karalee Childcare Centre with Slater Hanson (left) and Liam Edbrooke
Shana Skinner from Karalee Childcare Centre with Slater Hanson (left) and Liam Edbrooke Rob Williams

'We'll keep fighting': Parents campaign for new high school

THE drums of war are beating in the suburbs north of Ipswich as the state election looms.

Parents campaigning for a new high school in the growing Mount Crosby area may have been brushed off by the State Government but that's only hardened their resolve.

Now there is confusion over the real student numbers at the existing high schools with the Education Department offering one set of data while the schools have a different set.

The debate over whether a new high school should be built to cater for families in the Mount Crosby area has been raging for more than a decade.

But as more and more new homes are built the anxiety among families has grown.

 

THE GROWTH: State Government mapping online mapping tools show government high schools in areas marked dark red will experience more than 2% growth between 2026 and 2036. The tool does not specify if that growth will be more than 2%.
THE GROWTH: State Government mapping online mapping tools show government high schools in areas marked dark red will experience more than 2% growth between 2026 and 2036. The tool does not specify if that growth will be more than 2%. Queensland Treasury

In February, the launch of a new petition reignited the debate and with the election approaching families behind the push intend to be heard.

The Education Minister has maintained the same stance as previous governments; that enrolment numbers don't justify the need for a new school.

That was reinforced this month when Education Minister Kate Jones said, in reply to a question on notice posed by the LNP Opposition, the Ipswich and Kenmore State High Schools had not reached capacity.

Many parents living in the area send their children to one of three schools; Ipswich, Kenmore or Indooroopilly State High School.

Karalee mum of five Shana Skinner sends three of her children to Bremer State High.

All four schools are enrolment managed, meaning there are restrictions on students living outside the catchment areas attending the school.

Ms Skinner's children go to school in a taxi, as part of a government subsidised scheme, because there is no public transport.

She strongly believes the State Government should commit to a new high school.

She says it would undoubtedly reduce the daily traffic jam heading into Ipswich.

Ms Skinner works at Karalee Day Care and sees the growth in the area first-hand.

She speaks directly with other concerned parents and said the topic of a new high school has dominated recent discussions.

"We need that growth infrastructure in place and we need it sooner rather than later," Ms Skinner said.

"It's not fair that these kids going to Ipswich State High can spend an hour on the bus to get to a school 10 minutes down the road.

"Among the parents here, it's a big deal.

"It's not that people think Ipswich, Bremer or the other existing schools are rubbish schools.

"It's just that they are so big and so full."

Ms Jones said the latest figures from this year showed Ipswich State High School at 95% capacity and Kenmore State High School at 73%.

But Ipswich State High Principal Simon Riley has publicly told concerned parents, his school is at 110% capacity and in desperate need of more buildings to cater for growth.

Kenmore State High School's Council says their school has hit 87% capacity and there is limited room to build more classrooms on the current site.

On May 12 Ipswich City Council approved operational works for Stage 5 of the Park Village Estate at Karalee off Essex St behind the Karalee Shopping Village.

That will add another 24 homes to the area. The next stage has 53 homes.

At different nearby estate, The Crossing, 153 new homes will soon be built.

Real estate agents at Colliers International and Palace Property say they have a long waiting list of people either wanting to buy land or start building their new homes.

Ipswich West MP Jim Madden says he supports the campaign for a new school, whether it is built in the Moggill Electorate or his own.

The LNP's Moggill MP Dr Christian Rowan has met with Kate Jones since she responded to his question on notice and he says the government has agreed to re-examine the data.

While Dr Rowan supports the push, his concerns are around future planning and investment in the existing schools to ensure the area can cope with the pending population growth.


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