COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN: Parents Micheal and Amy Huckle are among hundreds in the Karalee area calling on the State Government to commit to building a new high school.
COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN: Parents Micheal and Amy Huckle are among hundreds in the Karalee area calling on the State Government to commit to building a new high school. Helen Spelitis

NEW SCHOOL: Formal petition closed, fight continues

THE push for a new school in Ipswich may have hit a wall.

In March a parliamentary petition, calling on the State Government to at least consider building a new school, was launched.

Within the first few days it attracted hundreds of signatures but the momentum didn't last.

This week the petition, sponsored by the LNP's Moggill MP Dr Christian Rowan, closed.

With only 1297 signatures, the latest petition had less support than one put to the parliament in 2007, which attracted more than 4000 signatures.

The State Government Education Department has consistently said school enrolment figures in the Mount Crosby, Karana Downs, Karalee, Chuwar and Barellan Point areas do not justify the calls for a new school.

But one parent behind the push says that's not the case.

Chris Hagstrom said he was disappointed with the final numbers and felt Ipswich MP Jim Madden could have done more to advocate on residents' behalf.

Throughout the campaign, Jim Madden said he was fully supportive of the petition and since March has made numerous posts on his social media accounts promoting the petition and the campaign for a new school.

"There would have been more signatures if more had been done at a political level," Mr Hagstrom said.

"Jim Madden was less involved than he could have been.

"It probably needed a greater push."

Dozens of parents have expressed their concerns about the lack of high school options within the area that straddles the border of the Moggill and Ipswich West electorates.

Among the concerns are increasing traffic into Ipswich, a lack of options with Ipswich's existing public high schools nearing capacity, coupled with similar over crowding concerns from nearby Kenmore State High School board.

Kenmore School Council chairperson Scott Meehan said earlier this year his school is at 87% capacity, while the Ipswich State High School principal Simon Riley said his school was at 110% capacity.

Those figures have been disputed by the Education Department which says Kenmore is at 71% built capacity and Ipswich State High is at 91% built capacity.

A Education Department spokesperson said the Karalee and Mount Crosby suburbs had not been identified as "high growth" areas, based on projections, however, student growth would continue to be closely monitored.

Moggill MP Dr Christian Rowan said residents' concerns were real and the State Government had a responsibility to be transparent and open about future educational planning and infrastructure in the area.

"Those who signed the petition obviously want that investment," Dr Rowan said.

Dr Rowan said the petition received a "good" number of signatures.

"What we still don't have from the state Labor government is a clear plan for the education future (in that area)," Dr Rowan said.

"What are they going to do for the regional population, when it comes to educational planning and infrastructure, into the future given regional population and demographic changes expected over the next decade and beyond.

"The state government needs to be fair dinkum about what planning they are undertaken, to be open and accountable to the people living in that area who have real concerns."

Ipswich West MP Jim Madden has met with the Karalee State School P&C representatives regarding this issue and offered advice on how to progress the push for a new school. 

"Dr Christian and I have regular discussions," Mr Madden said.