Review threatens Callide school funds
NICOLE Moller is worried about how her children are going to learn to swim after she got news late last week that the State Government was threatening to cut vital funding from next year under the Priority County Area Program (PCAP) that subsidised travel costs for rural schools.
Student transport to school swimming lessons is the big item that would cost parents of students at Thangool State School more if the funding is scrapped.
It has also funded trips to sports fixtures, camps and eisteddfods.
“I am disappointed that a program that was established to, to quote the government, 'improve learning outcomes by providing educational, social, and cultural opportunities which are normally difficulty to access in rural areas', will no longer be available,” Nicole, the Thangool P & C president, said.
“We are not any closer to basic services like the Civic Centre or the pool, nor do we suddenly have access to a beach or cinema.
“How are we any less rural than before?”
Nicole said the additional cost of all school excursions would be prohibitive.
“Swimming is certainly a life skill with children drowning a very topical issue,” Nicole said.
“People living in country areas can not always access swimming lessons because of the distance to a pool.
“A school-based swimming program not only forms part of the curriculum, it acts as a preventative measure and ensures equitable access for all. Children are our future - we need them to be properly educated.”
The PCAP funding, believed to be $15,000 for the Callide cluster, provides IT support for all schools, along with dance and CSIRO science workshops and an internet bullying workshop.
Other affected schools include Biloela State and High Schools, Goovigen, Jambin, Mount Murchison, Prospect Creek, Wowan State Schools and St Joseph's Primary School in Biloela.
A concerned parent leaked a letter from PCAP to Central Telegraph that said a new funding model and proposed PCAP schools from 2010 had been approved by Education Minister Geoff Wilson and the PCAP State Council for consultation.
The letter stated in October 2007, following council amalgamations, the PCAP State Council approved a review of current PCAP boundaries and eligibility criteria.
Following evaluation of a number of different models, one was chosen that was based primarily on distance to service centres, travelling time to these centres, town population and density of available services.
A spokesperson for Education Queensland said extensive consultation about the proposed changes was occurring in each PCAP area and community members were encouraged to have their say.
Feedback on the proposed changes would be considered by the PCAP State Council before any final decisions were made.
PCAP is a community-based program run by Education Queensland and the Queensland Catholic Education Commission.