After our second meeting this year with the community (9 Dec.) many questions were addressed which we hope will help parents better understand how the board is structured and operates within the overall organisation. Please refer to the comprehensive notes from that meeting which have been circulated (or request a copy if you did not receive one).
The board will continue to share with the school community, through the newsletter, community meetings, and other notices and letters throughout the year, information about the matters relating to the school's direction and future, as well as other board activities and decisions, as appropriate. While some things necessarily need to remain confidential, and not all details can be shared until known or confirmed, it is our intention to keep our school community well informed and up-to-date.
End-of-year financial position
We are very pleased to say 2019 will end with a good surplus of funds which we are expecting to put to use in 2020 with an anticipated move to new, temporary premises (see below). The board is especially grateful for assistance from our financial consultant, John Oxley.
The school's building fund became established and active this year with our first major fundraiser in September, raising nearly $3000. Other fundraisers and donations will continue to help grow this important fund to support construction of future school buildings.
Table Street renovations
Important renovations will be going ahead early in the new year to be ready for the start of school. These include expansion and improvements to the toilet block with two new toilets and hand basins to cater for the larger number of children and staff. Upgrades to the existing toilets include some fresh paint and skirting tiles added. A dividing wall will be installed in the hall, creating two separate classrooms for classes 1 and 2-3. New playground equipment and improvements are also planned.
Our next move
As reported in the previous newsletters (and also at the recent community meeting), the school has been offered a site for the long-term in Thrumster. This site will not be ready for some years (estimated 5-7), but the board is working actively with the owners and will be meeting with them this month to continue the process towards this aim. We have engaged architect, Bronwyn Bellemore to prepare a site plan which can then be submitted to Council for their initial go-ahead. Bronwyn has a background in anthroposophical architecture and was involved in the design and development, over many years, of the Casuarina Steiner School in Coffs Harbour. The Thrumster property must then be rezoned before we can apply for a block grant, and for a DA. The board is working on a time-frame incorporating the many steps needing to occur as we proceed.
As the school will reach maximum student numbers allowable at Table Street in 2020, the board's Future Site Committee: Fred Buys, Alanna Alfaro, Justin Robinson, Vernon Falzon, and Steve Quirk – has also been actively searching for new, larger temporary premises all year, which we can expand into in the short-term. Several potential sites have been investigated this year. Currently we are looking at a property in Port Macquarie large enough to accommodate the whole school, with already two houses on it that could serve, with some remodelling, for classrooms and offices. Negotiations are underway with the owner. The school community will be informed of any developments as soon as they can be confirmed.
We are very grateful to all the committee members for their efforts throughout the year!
New teaching staff for 2020
We are delighted with the appointment of two excellent new teachers for our school next year – Jedda Davis (kindergarten) and Emma Prince (class 1). Kristy has already introduced them in her message, and to the families of their respective groups. Welcome Jedda and Emma! It seems a very long time ago already – though it was only a year ago – when we were welcoming Sally to our school!
Kristy takes on principal role next year
While in 2019 Kristy was straddling between teaching kindergarten part-time, and being school principal part-time, next year her focus will be as school principal exclusively. It has been difficult keeping one foot in two entirely different camps, but Kristy has performed extraordinarily well holding both roles with her characteristic dedication and sound leadership.
Wishing you all a restful and joyous Christmas, and summer of fun! Looking forward to seeing you all in the New Year!