RHS intervention to continue
A government intervention at Rangiora High School will run into the new year to reduce risks to its operation, the Ministry of Education says.
Commissioner Bev Moore will have acted as the school’s board of trustees for three years by the time the intervention is next reviewed in February.
A ministry report into Moore’s progress released in March set a ‘‘tentative timeline’’ to end the intervention in 2018, noting that timeline ‘‘would allow the commissioner to work through the remaining areas that need to be addressed to minimise risk to the operation of the school and allow for a board election to occur’’.
A scheduled review of that timeline in October was scrapped after a September meeting between Moore, new principal Karen Stewart, and ministry staff determined ‘‘further progress was needed before the school could return to self-governance,’’ ministry deputy secretary Katrina Casey said.
Plans to elect a board of trustees in November would also have to wait, although members of the school community had been asked to start identifying potential candidates.
No date has been set for Moore’s departure but Casey said it was ‘‘likely that Rangiora High School will have made sufficient progress by the February 2018 review so a board election can happen early in the new school year’’.
The school’s board was dissolved in February 2015, the day after Moore completed a damning report on then-principal Peggy Burrows’ relationship with three board former members who wanted to purchase new farmland for the school.
Moore later fired Burrows over allegations she leaked confidential board documents to a TVNZ reporter. In January, the Employment Relations Authority found Burrows could not be proved as the source of the leak and awarded her up to $150,000 for wrongful dismissal.
However, the authority ruled against Burrows’ reinstatement as principal, unconvinced a positive working relationship could be restored. Moore appointed Stewart, the former principal of Marlborough Girls’ College, in May.
Moore said Rangiora High still needed to finalise ‘‘complex property projects’’ and a ‘‘robust investment strategy’’ before the ministry would end the intervention. ‘‘These multifaceted tasks are well under way, as is the bedding in of the school’s governance framework,’’ she wrote in an email.
A statement from Stewart said that framework, which included ‘‘a number of reporting and policy changes’’, would set future boards of trustees up for success, ‘‘particularly around our core role of raising student achievement’’.
‘‘The commissioner is very consultative and focused on what is ultimately best for Rangiora students, now and into the future.’’