Mr O’Connor said it was an “immoral assessment” of the cost, which stemmed from ministry threats in 2012 to close the school for special-needs students. He said the ministry had squeezed the entry criteria which had made it difficult for students to gain access to the school.
Salisbury was one of four residential schools the Education Ministry planned to close in 2012 in favour of establishing a new “wraparound service” where each student has a plan of support at school, home and in the community. The High Court ruled against the ministry and ordered the school to remain open.
Mr O’Connor said entry criteria to Salisbury had since tightened, which was a “back-door” way of closing it by reducing the roll, to then say it was not needed.
“The school is desperately needed. It’s immoral and unethical for us to turn our backs on these young people,” he said.
The residential school is for girls from three to 11 years of age who have high and complex needs.