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The Board of Management is anxious first of all that the school project will proceed as fast as possible. Secondly, we want to examine the most expedient, safest, most convenient and least disruptive approach to the construction programme. As a Board we are unhappy with the time frame attached to the design, planning and construction process, ie begin 2014, maybe. We are also concerned with the two phase, school operating on-site approach, to the construction of the extension. As the client of the development we have proposed the move to Congress Avenue as one approach to ensuring less disruption by way of noise, dust, traffic etc. We are also looking at other possibilities. The Department of Education, however, seem to see nothing positive in this approach even though they have agreed that we, the Board, is client for the project. We are also happy to consider other possibilities regarding relocated some of the school, during the project. We also want to assure parents that we are looking for the best overall approach to suit the whole school community. Finally, you, as taxpayers, need to know that there are few if any schools (primary or secondary) in rural Ireland with as many prefabs or with as large an annual bill for renting such prefabs and given these costs to taxpayers we want to help minimise costs associated with temporary accommodation now and as the building process takes place. LB

The ballot of parents was undertaken to examine the feasibility of using the Congress Avenue NS school as a location for the pupils and staff of Whitecross School, when the proposed construction of the new school extension begins.

On April 4, 2012 the Board of Management held a meeting in the City North to outline the proposed plans for the school extension and also to gauge parents' opinions in relation to using the facilities at Congress Avenue.

As a result of the meeting it was decided to seek the opinions of all the parents in the school and also the parents of pupils who will be coming to the school in September a copy of the ballot paper:

Dear Parents,

On Wednesday April 4 the school Board of Management held a meeting in the City North Hotel to outline and discuss a proposal that we relocate the school pupils and staff for one year to Congress Avenue NS, which becomes vacant from June of this year. This was the best attended meeting in the history of the school and the question and answer session afterwards leads to this opportunity for you to share your opinion for this proposal with the Board, should the need arise to relocate. There are a number of background issues that need to be considered:

Moving to Congress Avenue would progress the build more quickly (one year, rather than two years)
The Board feels that it is a safer option than option supported by Department of Education & Skils (two phase build, with school functioning on-site at the same time)
The BoM calculates that our proposal would save DES €500,000. This saving factors in free bus transport for children to Drogheda if required by their parents
DES assistant principal (Tom Plunkett) does not see any merit in our proposal, even though his Department is set to save funds for the exchequer
Board will continue to lobby our political representatives if this ballot is substantially in favour of one phase proposal
Board representatives met in Tullamore with DES officials, to discuss this issue and request to begin construction in 2013 (to save exchequer funds), but DES want construction to begin in 2014

Overleaf there is a simple question. Do you support a one phase school project and are you willing to allow your child(ren) attend Whitecross School if it is relocated to Congress Avenue NS?

This question is presuming; that free transport is available; that the term in Congress Avenue should not be more than one year; that we have a satisfactory traffic management plan in place; that children's safety is not compromised; that the Board is satisfied with the condition of this school; that a suitable rescheduling of hours to facilitate parents will be considered

Diarmuid Everard
Liam Burke

Do you support a one phase school project and are you willing to allow your child(ren) attend Whitecross School if it is relocated to Congress Avenue NS?

YES ____

NO ____

The Ballot Papers can be returned with your child, directly to office, posted to school, placed in mailbox at main school door. Closing date is Friday, April 20 at 3pm

Comment if you feel the need: ....................................................................................................................................................................................

RESULT: 157 in Favour 51 Against

Comments from those in favour

  • I think it is a very good idea. But I would need a bus to be provided to take my children from Whitecross to new school and back home.

  • Safety must be priority in relation to bus transportation to and from the school. Children must be escorted to and from classroom.

  • My child currently uses the bus service and I would need a bus to bring her back to her house.

  • Is it possible to relocate to a different site, i.e. Coliste Na Inse will have moved to their permanent premises by then and leaving temporary accommodation vacant?

  • As long as it is only 1 year!

  • Transport will have to be provided.

  • It is a no brainer. Kids going to school for 2 years on a building site V's two years in a normal place of study (the second year of which being in a brand new school). Use church car park for bus pick up and drop off.

  • Think one phase project more beneficial and less disruptive for all the children.

  • I do not feel that it will benefit children or enhance their learning experience to be educated in a building site. There are also serious Health & Safety issues with regard to DES plan and I don't feel they can guarantee our children's safety on a building site.

  • I agree to this on the basis that children based in South Drogheda can avail of the bus service too otherwise it will be nightmare traffic wise with the new school and St Mary's Boys Senior School.

  • I don't think our opinion is relevant as there won't be any XXX at Whitecross in September, however, I would support this initiative to facilitate the speedy progression of the construction project.

  • It makes excellent monetary and safety sense - the right option to try and build a new school round an existing one would be so disruptive where there is a better option - USE IT.

  • We should do whatever we can to get school built sooner and safer for our children.

  • Providing a free bus transfer is available and is operated and supervised safely.

  • I agree as long as there is a way to get children there such as a bus.

  • Relocation is a great option both for the school and the children's welfare. Savings in time and money is an additional bonus.

  • This will hasten the completion of the project.

  • I would be in favour of school moving for 1 year only if transport is available.

  • We totally support the idea and hope that you get the majority Yes vote and the school can move forward.

  • I this is a great idea.

  • Yes, I think this would be a great idea.

  • APPRECIATE THE DEDICATION AND HARD WORK of the Board of Management and Mr Burke, Would have concerns about traffic management issue.

  • Best of luck. This is much better idea than expecting children to attend school on a building site.

  • Yes a one phase project would be good. I am not keen to go to Congress Avenue, but will if that is the decision of the majority.

  • Do not believe it is appropriate for me to vote as I will not have any children in the school.

  • Think it is a great idea and a much safer option for staff and pupils.

  • But only on the basis there is transport as I would not be able to take my daughter to this school.

  • I support the one phase school project we live in Bettystown and we just hope that the times of the buses is convenient, otherwise we might have to rethink it.

  • DES should support any saving in the current recession!

  • I think it is a very reasonable idea to relocate to Congress Ave., NS. To enable the new building project finish with in a shorter period of time.

  • It makes most sense.

  • I feel that this will be a disruption, with extra cost implications due to extra curricular travel arrangements, etc., however it is better for the overall project to be done in one phase.

  • My son will be in 2 class for the year of the move if it goes ahead. Would communion still take place in Julianstown Church?

  • Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of the children.

  • As my child is in 6 Class, it is not applicable; however, a one phase school project is safer, less disruptive and obviously saves costs. Having worked in a school with on-going building works, it is extremely noisy, disruptive and potentially dangerous. However, I feel a bus service would need to be provided.

  • I think parents of children who are scheduled to start in the school over the next few years should also be asked for their opinion. It is a little unfair that I have any say in the matter as my child will be leaving the school this year.

  • I think this is a far better option. I don't see how staying on the school grounds can be safe. Less noise and a calmer school environment which is better for the children and it is that who we have to think of. Getting there and parking are adult issues that the adults have to deal with!

  • I only support this if the school is providing free transport for the children as you cannot expect parents and working parents to have extra expense in transport as you know the cost of petrol is rising.

  • Provided that transport is available both to and from the school.

  • This is a fantastic idea; my child will not be around machinery and dust, etc., less disruption for him and better learning.

Comments from those against:

  • Too many assumptions are being made.

  • Do parents with children due to start school 2012, 2013, 2014 receive a vote in this ballot?

  • I do not support the one phase project, however, should it go ahead I would have to allow my son to attend Congress, I don't know why this would have to happen - other schools build new schools around their old ones, take Stamullen for example.

  • I feel it being my daughter's last year in Whitecross NS in 2014 that she would not like to do it in Congress Ave NS is in a middle of housing estate traffic will be terrible.

  • I think that it would be very disruptive for the pupils to move so far away from Julianstown. I think they are time enough doing that when they start secondary school. Somewhere nearer might be better for pupils and parents.

  • There is a good reason why children who attended Congress Ave are being moved to a new school! Serious questions regarding sanitation and heating in Congress not to mention traffic from 3 other schools on same route.

  • Not happy with this proposal. I don't want to uproot my kids from their familiar surroundings not to mention the added hassle to parent or grandparent collecting them. I also don't want my kids going to school in a town. If this proposal goes ahead, I will have to strongly consider moving my kids to another local school.

  • Living in Drogheda area means we would not be eligible for bus. Traffic going to Congress Ave means it is impossible to drop off and be on time for work.

  • Major concerns regarding the school in Congress Ave., as the school was due to close. We feel it is too much of an upheaval for the children but more concerned re the temp school.

  • With the children out of the way the pressure will be off the builders and the build will take longer to complete. If the children stay where they are it will be finished on schedule and they won't be disrupted.

  • Due to commuting for work and childcare arrangements it is impossible for use to agree to this proposal.

  • New school even temporarily will not be good for Julianstown, also not convinced that funds will be available and school my remain in Drogheda long-term.

  • This ballot is worded unfairly in favour of a Yes Vote. It suggest that parents who vote No will not allow their children to attend school, preferred options is what should have been balloted.

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