Replace us, board says

Cleave Hay.
Cleave Hay.
The Wanaka Primary School board of trustees is asking the Ministry of Education to replace it with a commissioner.

The request follows three more resignations from the troubled board: Kassandra Jackson before a board meeting on Tuesday night, Rachel Cassaidy during the meeting and Brian Thomas earlier this month.

Former chairman Richard Cubie and Jo McArthur resigned from the board earlier this year.

Limited statutory manager Cleave Hay, who has been working with the board since January, said the request for a commissioner to be appointed was contained in a letter on its way to the ministry.

In a statement to staff, parents and whanau yesterday, Mr Hay said the latest resignations had left the board with only two parent-elected trustees, one co-opted trustee and one staff-elected trustee, plus the principal. There were four vacancies.

Mr Hay said in the statement the remaining trustees discussed the situation at the meeting, including the board's stability, its capacity to administer effective governance and ''the distraction'' of having four casual vacancies and an election for two trustees in November.

''Their overall feeling was that they do not believe there can be effective student achievement-focused governance in this situation.''

Mr Hay said the ministry would consider the ongoing governance of the school ''which may involve the appointment of a commissioner to replace the board of trustees''.

A commissioner would determine when the school could govern from the community again.

Mr Hay said he had been assured the principal and staff remained ''firmly focused'' on delivering the best possible education to all pupils.

Approached by the Otago Daily Times yesterday, Mr Hay referred questions to the ministry and to board chairman Mike Thomas.

Mr Thomas did not respond to an ODT message yesterday.

When taking on the role of chairman in April, he said the school's governance woes were behind it, following the resignations of Mr Cubie and Ms McArthur, but he would not elaborate.

Board member Brian Thomas said he had no comment yesterday. Ms Jackson and Ms Cassaidy indicated they would respond by email, but had not done so by last night.

A ministry spokeswoman said the ministry had still to receive the board's request but was aware of the resignations.mark.price@odt.co.nz