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A divisive six months among the Griffith community culminated with a lukewarm reaction on Tuesday with no clear winner.
A new Griffith high schools plan deviated from the proposals, but the community remains divided.
Adrian Piccoli’s legacy as NSW Education Minister was there for the taking, before his grasp on his hometown’s mega school project slipped through his fingers, as the Premier reshuffled her cabinet.
Fresh-faced replacement Minister Rob Stokes was not on hand to defend his decision diverting from Mr Piccoli’s original plans, instead leaving the announcement and explaining to his predecessor.
The Griffith high schools merger consolations with the community came on the back of two potential plans, both of which provided what the state government said were quality investment opportunities for our education system.
The backlash from a noisy campaign group seemingly fell on deaf ears when an alternate plan splitting the $25 million between the schools was dismissed.
Mr Piccoli said he could not in his own conscience make that offer.
“It is not going to happen,” he said. “I have a responsibility as Minister for Education to all public schools to spend this money as effectively as I can...we need to invest it.”
It begs the question – how much of this decision came on the back of the consultation and input from Mr Piccoli?
What would we have if Mr Piccoli was still in charge of education, and how much has Rob Stokes – who confesses to be, “no expert in education” – had a hand in the final outcome?
The original options were both winners in the state government’s eyes, but they eventually went with neither.
Mr Piccoli’s legacy won’t come to fruition like he planned, but something’s better than nothing, right?
Only improved student outcomes will determine whether the Griffith public secondary system has received a shot in the arm or a band-aid.
Whether Griffith Secondary School is a sound investment solving the city’s education woes, or a lukewarm compromise like the federal government’s NBN and national freight line projects.