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'Unnecessary' drive for country high school students

A Glenden resident wants Nebo students to attend their high school rather than travelling to Mirani.
A Glenden resident wants Nebo students to attend their high school rather than travelling to Mirani. Contributed

TEENAGERS in Nebo regularly travel more than two hours every day just to attend high school.

A lack of options close by forces them to go to Mirani.

But one Glenden resident wants to see that changed and said years of petitioning hadn't brought any results.

Glenden General Store owner and manager Melissa Payne has seen her town's school population fluctuate with the rise and fall of coal mining in the past 30 years.

She argues the current trip for Nebo students is "unnecessary" and allowing them to attend Glenden State School, a Prep-12 campus, would not only benefit the mining town but also be better for the children.

"Currently they have to move into a boarding school, or get on a bus at 7am to go to Mirani, which takes about an hour and a half," Ms Payne said. "The Peak Downs Highway can also be dangerous and I can't imagine the kids would be able to focus after such a long trip. If they came here it would also help Mirani High as it's already over-populated."

She said Glenden State School's smaller classes could accommodate more students, and having more people coming into the town would help the community.

The road to Mirani is about 87km, while the distance to Glenden is 85km. Despite the 2km difference, it takes about 40 minutes to drive to the mining town.

Ms Payne and others had petitioned Queensland's Department of Education at least four times previously for a change, but had given up about eight years ago after multiple rejections.

She also said a simple solution would be to change the route.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport and Main Roads said they introduced the Nebo to Mirani High bus service in June 2004 in consultation with Education Queensland and parents of eligible students.

But Nebo resident Gary Coombs said the long trip isn't good for the students.

"Lots of the kids board at Whitsunday Anglican School and you see them piling into the bus on a Sunday night and filing back in on a Friday night," Mr Coombs said.

"They spend the whole week out there away from their families.

"The rest get up at some ungodly hour and catch the bus to Mirani and I can't imagine they'd be able to focus in school properly."

The Department of Education was contacted, but did not provide a response before publishing

Topics:  education glenden high school mirani nebo

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