19 April 2022

Jerrabomberra Public School's zoning restrictions scrapped

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Nichole Overall

Member for Monaro Nichole Overall announces a backflip on school zoning changes outside Jerrabomberra Public School. Photo: Brent Hunter.

The NSW Department of Education has scrapped controversial changes to Jerrabomberra school zoning regulations.

Last month the department moved to change the rules about which students could attend Jerrabomberra Public School and the future Jerrabomberra High School.

Under the changes, those living north of Edwin Land Parkway would no longer be accepted, leaving many parents furious that their children could not attend the school despite living close by.

Parents were advised to start looking at schools towards Queanbeyan, despite many having purchased homes in the area believing their children would be able to have access to the schools.

Member for Monaro Nichole Overall said she contacted the NSW Department of Education and the Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell, and was pleased to announce the decision had been reversed.

READ ALSO Same suburb, same postcode, different schools: Jerrabomberra heights students pushed out in re-zoning

She said she told the Education Minister the decision to divide the school community was unacceptable, adding that the rezoning process was then paused so a survey could be conducted.

Ms Overall said intake areas need to be addressed, as new facilities such as the Jerrabomberra High School are built, “however there’s also a need to hear from residents about their expectations and concerns”.

“My objective over the last three weeks has been to provide a thorough process to ensure we could reach the best outcome possible,” she said.

Concerned members of the community were relieved to hear Mrs Overall’s announcement. Photo: Brent Hunter.

Kristen Cusack is one of many concerned members of the Jerrabomberra community who were directly impacted by the proposed zoning changes.

The mother-of-two has been living in Jerrabomberra for 30 years and currently sends her three-year-old to the preschool next to Jerrabomberra Public School. She had hopes of sending her children there in the future.

“I live in the Jerrabomberra heights and I would have been zoned out of sending my child to the primary school had the decision not been overturned by Nicole,” Ms Cusack said.

“I’ve had the opportunity to move to other communities, but I’ve chosen to stay here because I always wanted my child to have the opportunity to go to general public school and to ride her bike with her friends to school.”

Ms Cusack said she was “absolutely gobsmacked” when she first heard about the rezoning.

READ ALSO We need teachers: staff shortage in Queanbeyan now a ‘crisis’

“The way it was done with no consultation was shameful, and then the subsequent consultation with them not even getting the community form right was just appalling,” she said.

“Nicole Overall has actually advocated really hard to get this overturned.”

Ms Cusack was pleased with the State Government’s decision. She said her child could now go to school with the friends she’s been making in preschool.

“Jerra’s a very close-knit community, so this is just amazing for us,” she said.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing my daughter have the opportunity to continue her friendships into the primary school.”

Mrs Overall said she plans to call a community meeting after Easter to further discuss the new high school with residents.

Original Article published by Evelyn Karatzas on Riotact.

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