A birdseye view of Slade Campus at Glennie Heights.
A birdseye view of Slade Campus at Glennie Heights.

Slade sale all but done deal

DETAILS of the final sale figure on Warwick's Slade Campus will not be made public for at least six months for legal reasons, the Daily News has been told.

As reported, the Southern Downs Regional Council struck a deal late last year with the operators of Warwick Christian College for them to purchase the site to re-locate the college and add a secondary school.

The council has so far declined to reveal the final sale price, saying the sale has yet to be finalised, after paying $3.65 million for the controversial site in 2007.

With maintenance and loan interest since then, many in the community are keen to discover any net gain - or loss - to ratepayers from the Slade sale.

Chief executive officer of Christian Community Ministries - which operates Warwick Christian College and seven other schools in Queensland - yesterday also declined to say how they were paying for Slade.

But he did confirm that the campus would not formally change hands for some months, due to legal issues related to stamp duty.

Non-government schools in Queensland are exempt from paying stamp duty, which in this instance would run to several hundred thousand dollars, but only if they start operating within six months of buying a site.

With the new College not due to open its doors until the first school term of 2013, the Slade sale contract is a long way from completion, but Mr Linden said it was "all but" finalised.

"This is just a legal issue that we have to work around and we are absolutely confident that everything will go ahead," he said yesterday.

"We're certainly planning on the basis that the site is ours and we are now in the process of seeking formal accreditation (for the new school) which we need to secure government funding."

Mr Linden is due to meet with council chief executive officer Rod Ferguson today about progress on the sale.

He said accreditation for the new school - which will include Year 8 next year and will add on another senior grade each year after that - was little more than a "formality".

He also said funding for the non-government school sector was "a bigger issue" than Slade itself.

"The federal government spends around $14,000 a year on students in government schools, but only around $7000 on those in the non-government education sector," Mr Linden said.

"This is despite the fact that nationally across the board non-government schools save taxpayers approximately $8 billion a year."

Mr Linden said the maximum federal funding for students each year in a private school was 70% of total costs, with the Warwick Christian College operating on "between 50-60 %" of student costs being funded by Canberra.

The government uses Australian Bureau of Statistics data to assess the relative "wealth" of private schools and their surrounding communities and to determine how much of a subsidy individual schools receive.

Mr Linden said Christian Community Ministries had not commissioned its own independent building of pest surveys of Slade Campus, saying council had undertaken those measures.

But when asked if work would need to be done on the older Slade building to get them up to scratch for the new school, he said he was confident there were enough "useable" buildings on the site to get the new school up and running.

"There are some very good buildings there and there are some that are pretty run down," he said.

"We will have enough teaching and other space to accommodate our immediate demand when we open in 2013 and we'll do a survey of what else is there to determine what work needs to be done."

We're certainly planning on the basis that the site is ours...

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