Jobs freeze leaves school head­less

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Ali­cia Per­era and Tom Zaun­mayr

The State Gov­ern­ment staff freeze has left Kar­ratha Se­nior High School with­out a prin­ci­pal so far this year.

One was due to be ap­pointed at the start of Term 2.

The school, which has re­cently grown into one of the largest in re­gional WA, has been with­out a for­mal prin­ci­pal since the de­par­ture of for­mer head­mas­ter Greg Kelly at the end of last year.

Deputy prin­ci­pal Jen­nifer McMa­hon was act­ing in the role for Term 1 and has con­tin­ued to fill the po­si­tion this term.

The Statewide staff freeze, which in­cluded ex­emp­tions for teach­ing staff but not prin­ci­pals, who are clas­si­fied as ad­min­is­tra­tive, was lifted with the re­lease of the State Bud­get last Thurs­day.

How­ever the high school is in for an in­def­i­nite wait with no clear date set for a new prin­ci­pal to be ap­pointed.

Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion re­gional ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for the Pil­bara Neil Darby said hav­ing ex­ist­ing staff act­ing was stan­dard prac­tice for fill­ing va­cant roles in schools.

“Other schools may have used a sim­i­lar sys­tem to fill va­cant po­si­tions dur­ing the gov­ern­men­twide freeze on re­cruit­ment, how­ever it’s not un­usual for staff to fill po­si­tions in this way while va­can­cies are ad­ver­tised at any time,” he said.

Speak­ing be­fore the freeze was lifted, La­bor Mem­ber for the Min­ing and Pas­toral Re­gion Stephen Daw­son said leav­ing a ma­jor re­gional high school with­out a prin­ci­pal for so long was a “farce”.

“This lat­est in­for­ma­tion that we haven’t got a school prin­ci­pal in one of the big­gest State schools in the WA is ab­so­lutely out­ra­geous,” he said.

“Surely it should be ex­empt­ing those front­line ser­vices.”

Pil­bara MLA Bren­don Grylls de­fended the staff freeze as a dif­fi­cult but tem­po­rary de­ci­sion the State Gov­ern­ment had made out of fi­nan­cial ne­ces­sity.

“At the end of the day, the rea­son for the de­ci­sion was to save money.

“You save money by not reap­point­ing,” he said.

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