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Anger simmers on school's last day

Woodford Dale Public School principal Sharon Nelson addressed the students at the conclusion of the school’s final assembly.
Woodford Dale Public School principal Sharon Nelson addressed the students at the conclusion of the school’s final assembly. Debrah Novak

TEARS and sadness were in abundance yesterday and anger was simmering just beneath the surface as parents, students and teachers gathered to celebrate Woodford Dale Public School on what could well be its last day in operation.

The bitterness felt by the school community towards the closure announced just two weeks ago was made even more painful by the fact many of them believed that earlier in the term they had been given the go-ahead for another year.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the School Education Director Ron Phillips had taken responsibility for this communication breakdown.

Mr Gulaptis was at the school to understand past and future attendance numbers but he wouldn't say what number of students would warrant the re-opening of the school.

"The difficulty is that once a school is closed students get enrolled somewhere else and the teachers find other jobs," Mr Gulaptis said.

For P&C member Gaby Deleiuen, who has two children at the school, it is not the end but the beginning. She has vowed to fight the decision and have it reversed. "I have been studying the NSW legislation on policy and procedures. Closing one-teacher schools represent a special case," she said.

"My children will be right here (at the school) next year.

"The decision has nothing to do with the children's' welfare; how can closing the school two weeks before Christmas be good for them.

"It is all about money."

Parent Lyn Drennon, whose family had been planning to bring new students to the school, said she would also be prepared to fight to keep it open.

"The school is the heart of the community," said local farmer Norm Kirby.

Topics:  closure, school, students, teachers


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