THE Orange Anglican Grammar School will be sold off in the next few months in an attempt to recoup millions of dollars owed by the Anglican diocese of Bathurst.
The majority of staff at the school were told of the sale at a meeting at lunchtime yesterday while parents were informed via an email, letter and a posting on the school’s website.
The school’s principal Leonard Elliot told the Central Western Daily while he only learnt of the sale on Saturday, he was convinced it was good news.
“It’s a positive thing, a good thing,” Mr Elliot said.
Mr Elliot said new administration at the school, and its financial resources, would provide “fresh growth”.
“We will be able to develop everything from the grounds to enrolments ... and make the school into something special,” he said.
In the letter sent home with students yesterday, Mr Elliot and the chair of the school council, David Bracey, said sale discussions had already been entered into with “various well-established educational organisations”.
A sale to an education institution would ensure the purchaser would not have to repay the federal government’s BER (Building Education Revolution) grants.
Parents were told before “debt obligations” were factored in the school’s financial position was very positive with the school operating with a “trading surplus”.
Mr Elliot said expressions of interest were now being sought by the Anglican Property Trust of the Diocese of Bathurst. A list of potential buyers will be finalised by the beginning of March with hopes a buyer will be locked in by June.
The buyer, which could be a school or university, is expected to be ensconced on site at the beginning of 2014.
Mr Elliot said he could assure staff, students and their families there would be no changes to the school’s operation, including its bursary program, this year.
Despite school administrators and the church’s desire to see the school sold to an Anglican organisation, there is no guarantee.
“It’s on the open market,” Mr Elliot said.
“There’s a very strong preference for an Anglican buyer.”
No matter who buys the school, Mr Elliot said he anticipated the “identity and the character of the school would remain the same”.
Mr Elliot said he expected the community to embrace news of the sell-off.
“I think we’ll see an increase in our enrolments and while change can be unsettling, this change is for the better,” Mr Elliot said.
This year the school has 360 enrolments with numbers expected to jump to 400 in 2014.
A parent information meeting will be held at the school’s Media Centre on February 17 at 7pm.
The Macquarie Anglican Grammar School in Dubbo will be sold off in identical circumstances although its unsure if the same buyer will purchase both schools. (see story above)