Following recent governance issues at Wanaka Primary
School, principal Wendy Bamford and new board of trustees
chairman Mike Thomas (right) are focusing on school
expansion projects such as construction of the final stage
of the school hall (at rear), managed by Calder Stewart
foreman Craig Bennett (left). Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
A Primary School board of trustees chairman Mike Thomas
says the school's governance woes are behind it after two of
its board members resigned.
However, one of those trustees cautions there has been a lot
of misinformation about the school's problems.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Thomas said the recent
resignations of trustees Richard Cubie and Jo McArthur had
''allowed the Wanaka Primary School board of trustees to move
forward again and put some of the previous governance issues
He declined to elaborate any further on the situation which
arose at the school following a breakdown in board
relationships late last year.
Ms McArthur said it was ''sad'' the board had been blamed for
what had occurred at the school.
''It has had a huge unnecessary emotional toll for me,
personally, and on a large number of people.''
The parent representatives on the board had ''always been
looking out for the best interests of the school-wide
community'' and held the teaching and administration staff in
high regard, Ms McArthur said.
''People need to be wary of misinformation that's been given
She would not comment further at this stage and Mr Cubie
declined to make any comment.
In January, Dunedin business director Cleave Hay was
appointed by the Ministry of Education as limited statutory
manager (LSM) for the school and last month reported there
was ''no immediate risk'' to pupils' learning, following the
initial scoping period of his appointment.
Mr Cubie had already resigned from his previous role as board
chairman in December, giving the school's handling of parent
complaints as the reason, but remained as a board member
until his resignation last month.
Mr Thomas, appointed as chairman in February, said Ms
McArthur resigned last week.
The board had a good relationship with principal Wendy
Bamford and Mr Hay and continued to work closely with them
both, he said.
''We are pleased with the advice and direction the LSM has
provided to the board and expect Mr Hay to continue in his
role assisting the board next term.''
Dr Bamford said once Mr Thomas ''took the role of a strong
chair and followed correct processes, things started to
Mr Hay said he could not comment on the resignations as the
board had elected to have Mr Thomas as its spokesman.
However, he expected ministry intervention would remain in
place at the school until after trustee elections in late
November, ''so that I can determine the stability of the
board after the election''.
Mr Thomas said the board's focus was now on coping with
growth, as the school prepares for a roll of more than 600
pupils by the end the year.
Priority projects include the third and final stage of the
$1.1 million school hall, which began two weeks ago.
Increased car parking capacity and building the school's
final classroom pod are also in the pipeline.
The board would announce a course of action to replace the
vacant positions in the next couple of days, Dr Bamford said.