Staff losses revealed at Waitaki Boys'

Waitaki Boys' High School has lost 26 staff, including 12 full-timers, in just over three years.

Eight of those left since May last year, when news of issues at the school broke in the media.

Settlements have been reached on three personal grievance complaints against the school, although its commissioner, Nicola Hornsey, refuses to say how much that has cost, quoting confidentiality.

These are some of the details released by Ms Hornsey to the Otago Daily Times under the Official Information Act.

Since her appointment in October, Ms Hornsey's regular progress reports have identified employment as the major issue facing the school.

Because of conflicting reports about what had happened, and was still happening, with staff, the newspaper initially posed questions on April 21 but, after Ms Hornsey said it was inappropriate for her to discuss employment issues in such detail, then filed them as a request under the Act.

The school has had a staff entitlement of between 36.68 (this year) and 38.18 (last year) full and part-timers, or 36.1 and 38.82 full-time equivalents. Numbers are determined by the size of the roll.

It has one vacancy at present for a full-time head of English.

Since term 1, 2012, 26 part-time staff left the school, which included part-time, permanent and 12 fixed-term employees.

In May last year, it emerged the school was facing governance and management issues, which were later identified in two independent reports and an Education Review Office report.

That led to the board resigning in October.

Since Ms Hornsey's appointment as commissioner to replace the board in October, two personal grievance cases had been raised and resolved, with another one prior to her appointment also being settled.

There were no outstanding personal grievance claims, but several employment-related complaints had been made to her and had been, or were in the process of, being addressed.

Asked what the total cost had been of the settlements so far, Ms Hornsey said the terms and conditions of the settlements were ''confidential as between the parties''.

She also declined to reveal what the lowest and highest settlement had been.

Settlement costs were covered by the school and insurance.

The school budget provided for insurance payments, insurance excess payments, legal costs and employment costs each year.

At present, these were not over budget. Waitaki Boys also had sufficient reserves to meet any extra costs without impacting on other areas.

So far the amount spent on employment matters (not including settlements, insurance premiums and the cost of one independent report) since October 14 was $21,299.69.

The fees and expenses paid to her as commissioner were $46,910.52, but did not include $7750.94 (plus GST) travel and accommodation, which was reimbursed by the Ministry of Education.




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