Parents fear for school's future
PARENTS have been left wondering how their kids will get to Elliott Heads State School after its only bus run was cancelled when the state government pulled funding of the service.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads confirmed, because the number of children accessing the service on the Riverview bus route had dropped below the minimum requirement of six for the grant, it was withdrawn.
A department spokeswoman said a review of student numbers was conducted by the department’s Maryborough office.
“It is predicted that student number patronage for this service will stay below six until at least 2012,” she said.
But Elliott Heads State School Parents and Friends president Cindy Hyland could not understand why the only bus route recognised by the Department of Transport was the one to Riverview, when children from Coral Cove and Innes Park used the bus service.
MISS Hyland said despite the Elliott Heads school being closer to those coastal communities, Woongarra State School was the school that was recognised for the bus service grants under the Department of Transport and Main Roads rules.
“We are the closest state school to Coral Cove and Innes Park — the grant should include that area to transport students to and from Elliott Heads State School,” Miss Hyland said.
She said having no bus service would make things tough for students with two parents who work and will make the school less attractive for future enrolments.
Mum Jenny Radloff said the service was safe, because it dropped her 10-year-old boy off at the door of her home.
“I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the kids are on a gluten-free diet, so mornings are a bit of a rush for me when I’m not feeling well,” she said.
Miss Hyland said cancellation of the service was made worse by rumours the school was closing.
Department of Education and Training acting regional executive director of the Wide Bay-Burnett region Ken Collier stressed it was not closing.
“The Department of Education and Training is not going through any process, whatsoever, around the future of Elliott Heads State School,” he said.
“There is no plan to close the school at all.”
And when Miss Hyland approached the government department to ascertain who made the decision about the bus service, she got nowhere.
“It’s really sad that a government decision has been over-ridden by someone in the Department of Transport and it has cost our school,” Miss Hyland said.
“You would just expect in 2009, that the government would supply a bus so the kids can get to and from school.”