Disappointed burglary victims Paparoa Primary School pupils (left to right) Kaden Naylor, Solomon Schuster and Billy Holcroft with principal Simon Schuster

Double blow for school

by Laurie Willetts

Paparoa Primary School’s equipment shed has been burgled for the second time this year, with thieves making off with essential maintenance gear that had been bought to replace what was taken in the first break-in.

“It was devastating news to receive when staff arrived on Monday morning, that for the second time this year we have had our lawnmower, weed eater and this time our new chainsaw stolen,” says school principal, Simon Schuster.

The first raid was carried out in March, and the latest burglary was on the weekend of November 23–24.

“Schools are underfunded as it is, and finding the money for the insurance excess is a significant chunk of our annual property maintenance budget,” said Mr Schuster.

“It was our athletics day that Monday and children were saddened to see staff yet again recording what was stolen, finding new ways to secure the shed and then having the police coming in to inspect the site.”

He added that small rural schools are often the heart of communities.

“The Paparoa Primary School board is working on a five-year approach to turn the school into the community hub for Paparoa, where families can use facilities such as the school pool, bike track, scooter track, cooking facilities, vegetable gardens and school orchard. Thefts like this slow us down.”

A school parent who asked not to be named said there is “general opinion that local knowledge is behind the thefts with new gear arriving and then going again.”