Oodgeroo MP calls for state to make a decision on Ormiston State School demountables

SCHOOL: Ormiston State School's demountable buildings will remain for the time being.
SCHOOL: Ormiston State School's demountable buildings will remain for the time being.

EDUCATION Minister Grace Grace has responded to a petition tabled in Parliament calling for demountable buildings at Ormiston State School to be restored, saying the fate of the buildings lies in enrolments.

The petition, sponsored by Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson, appealed for the two demountable buildings to be restored and a plan put in place to build permanent buildings to replace demountables.

It received 496 signatures.

Ms Grace told Mr Robinson in Parliament last year that a decision on removal of the two hired demountables at Ormiston State School would be based on the enrolment numbers in the second week of term in 2019. 

In a response tabled on March 14, Ms Grace wrote that removal of the buildings had been postponed.

"The prefabricated buildings were scheduled for removal in 2019 however this has been temporarily postponed while the Department of Education monitors the school's enrolment patterns to determine the school's facility needs into the future," she said.

She said the buildings were placed at the school in 2013 to address pressure from increasing enrolments.

"An Enrolment Management Plan was implemented to assist the school to reduce the very high percentage of out-of-catchment enrolments, which at 63 per cent of the total school enrolments was adding significantly to the facilities pressures at the school," Ms Grace said. 

"Currently, out-of-catchment enrolments have reduced to 41 per cent and this decline is expected to continue.

"Additionally, there has been minimal growth in the school catchment area, with the future forecasts indicating a slight decline in student numbers over the next four years."

Mr Robinson said school numbers were higher in 2018 than when the buildings were installed in 2013.

"Why does the minister's answer to the petition say that the cuts have been temporarily postponed when she has the higher...numbers and can rule out the cuts now?" he said.

Mr Robinson said he was disappointed by Ms Grace's failure to rule out the removal of the buildings.

"The... planned education cuts to Ormiston State School continue to hang like a dark cloud over the school community despite the petitioning of local families to stop the cuts to the STEM, languages, music and other programs reliant upon the buildings," he said.

Mr Robinson called on the state government to make its intentions clear and to remove uncertainty about the buildings' future.

Ms Grace said the Newman government had not been building for future enrolment growth when the buildings were installed in 2013.

She said the Education Department monitored current and prospective enrolment numbers in Queensland schools

"The demountables haven't been moved from the school since they were installed in 2013," Ms Grace said. 

"There are no current plans to remove them."

Read more local news here.