Warburton Adventist School Articles
School to close
By Melissa Meehan - Star News Group - 23rd October 2007
WARBURTON Christian School will close at the end of this year after falling student numbers in recent years.
Director of Seventh-Day Adventist Schools (Victoria) Brian Mercer said that while the council and teachers have worked very hard to promote the school, the closure of other Adventist institutions in the area, the reduction in the number of students in the Upper Yarra and the high competition for the remaining 39 students have all led to the decision to close.
Chairman of the School Council Julie Evans said that while the decision was sad, the majority of parents had accepted it considering the small number of students at the school and the ageing demographic in Warburton.
"There are no signs that things would improve in the future," Ms Evans said.
Parent Julie Bell agreed that the low student numbers forced the decision to close the school.
However, Ms Bell says that she would like the opportunity to look into the possibility of the school reopening as a non-denominational community school.
"If there is enough support to create another school like the Mt Evelyn Christian School or the Mountain District Christian School - I would think that there is a real future for a school of that nature in Warburton," Ms Bell said.
She concedes, however, that only a miracle, in the shape of overwhelming financial support from the community, will reverse the decision to close the school.
Students at the school have been offered alternative arrangements which include being transported by bus to Edinburgh Adventist Primary school, which has 130 students and is located on the Campus of Lilydale Adventist Academy and Edinburgh Early Learning Centre.
Mr Mercer also said that subsidies would be provided to counter the cost of new uniforms and other expenses.
It is expected that at least half the students would transfer to Edinburgh Adventist Primary School.
A program to support the integration into the new school will take place this term to help ease students into their new surroundings.
Teachers at the school have been offered positions in other Adventist schools in Melbourne.
Since the school's decision to close, a number of local organisations have showed interest in the future use of the school grounds.
Warburton CFA Captain Maurice Dell said that since receiving funding for a new fire station the CFA has been looking at a number of sites to rebuild.
"The site looks like it might be suitable but we have looked at around 14 different properties," Mr Dell said.
Mr Dell said that he did not know whether the property would be put on the market in the future but added that if the site were to become available, the Warburton CFA would be interested in acquiring it.
Upper Yarra Community House CEO Sally Brennan said that she, along with Gembrook MP Tammy Lobato, Upper Yarra Secondary College principal Brian Way and others, have been meeting for 18 months about the establishment of an adequate Vocational Educational Training facility.
She said the Warburton school would be perfect.
Ms Brennan believes the site would certainly complement the school based education program offered by the community house at the Cerini Centre in Warburton.
Ms Brennan said that with the recent commitment made by the Government to keep young people at school until they complete year 12, the Vocational Education Training facility would offer locals the chance to get a blended education that isn't as academically focused as mainstream schools.
"We would absolutely love to use the site if it becomes available," Ms Brennan said.
"Any opportunity to provide vocational training for young people and older people, locally based, would be fantastic."
Ms Brennan said that while the closure of the Warburton Christian School can be seen as a loss, the opportunity to open another education facility in Warburton should be seen as a good thing.
Both organisations said that they have yet to discuss the possibilities for future use of the site with owners of the site, Adventist Schools Australia.