RHS in­ter­ven­tion to con­tinue

Northern Outlook - - FRONT PAGE - ADELE RED­MOND

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.’’

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