Council pledges $1M for Catholic high school

A SECOND high school could be on the cards for Cloncurry if funds can be secured by Mayor Andrew Daniels this year.

Cr Daniels said he hoped to build an extension of the current catholic school to cater for years seven to nine, despite non-committal of funding from Townsville Catholic Education.

Townsville Catholic Education Assistant Director of School Services Ross Horner confirmed there had been community discussions in Cloncurry concerning the extension to a secondary school, but said the discussions "have not amounted to any tangible decisions".

"We believe that currently there is no background information to provide other than some members of the Cloncurry community would like St Joseph's to take on secondary classes," Mr Horner said.

Mr Horner said Townsville Catholic Education (TCEO), under the auspices of the Townsville Catholic Diocese already administers St Joseph's school at Cloncurry.

"TCEO has no immediate plans to extend Catholic schooling beyond what we currently offer," he said.

Cr Daniels said he would continue to campaign for the school and seek funding from local industry and mining companies.

Cr Daniels said local government had pledged $1 million towards the building of the school and he was in negotiations with two mining companies to provide the rest.

"If we can get half a million out of those two mining companies - and I spoke to them yesterday," he said.

"I'm trying to get $250,000 each out of them, and I'm pretty confident we'll end up with $200,000 from each, but $250,000 is what we're going for."

"It's part of the community plan, to give people choice, a lot of people leave town to finish their catholic education so it been something that is quite clearly needed in the community so that people stay longer in Cloncurry," he said.

Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter said a proposal for a new middle school in Cloncurry needs to be carefully considered to ensure it is sustainable alongside the existing state high school.

He said he believed the proposal was supported by the Catholic Church, the Cloncurry Shire Council and some sections of the community who consider there is a niche for such an education facility to be built.

"I appreciate parents are taking a holistic approach to their children's education, and not just what's on the curriculum.

"Some parents, too, have told me such a school - for Years 7 to 9 inclusive - would persuade them not to send their children to boarding schools, and keep their families in Cloncurry.

"I understand that's a personal choice and one to which they are entitled.

Mr Katter said ultimately, the establishment of a new school would be a commercial decision because it will be a private school with its own fees, whereas the State High School is government-funded.

"While the predicted growth for the shire in the next 20 years opens up many commercial opportunities, including new schools, another factor in this situation is the Queensland Government's move to transition Year 7 students into high school.

"This is forcing parents to make the decision earlier on whether to send their children to boarding school.

"It would be a wonderful outcome if all parties could work together, on all levels, to deliver the best education possible for the children of Cloncurry," Mr Katter said.

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