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Survey shows trusteeship gets thumbs up

Media Release
Survey shows trusteeship gets thumbs up

Already half of the 13,000 candidates needed to fill vacancies on school boards of trustees have been found.

Elections Project Manager Janet Kelly says it is good news that new survey results show just over half of the existing 13, 000 trustees intend to stand again and another 20 percent are still making up their mind.

But she says there is no room for complacency, with at least another 6500 candidates needed to stand and be counted for children’s education in next April’s elections.

“Of course, the more people stand the better, because true democracy is about school communities having a selection of candidates with diverse talents and skills to choose from.”

The school trustee elections campaign, which is New Zealand’s biggest democratic event, was launched earlier this month, and 13,000 trustees must be elected to fill boards for 2,580 schools.

Janet Kelly says the survey is pleasing as it shows the strength of New Zealand’s system of self-managed schools.

“This is the sixth election for trustees and it appears that the community’s commitment to our students remains very strong.”

The survey shows that of those standing, 23 percent are doing it again because they still have a child at school and 20 percent because they enjoy it.

Another 16.5 percent feel they have something to offer and the same number want to ensure continuity.

The vast majority of those standing down (56 per cent) say it is because their children are leaving school. Another group – just over 18 percent say they have been on their board long enough and a further 18 percent say they have other commitments.

Janet Kelly says it is great to see that nine out of ten of those surveyed describe their experience as positive and the same number say that their time on the board has benefited them personally.

“In the survey trustees talk about how they gained increased knowledge and understanding of the school system and gained knowledge and skills. They remarked on how their confidence had increased and they had achieved personal growth as well as making new contacts and friendships.”

The trustees felt their top achievements for their schools were providing good school management and governance, improving school facilities, and supporting staff and principals.

“Trustees who are elected in April next year will join an estimated 100,000 people who have taken on this important role since self-managed schools began in 1989,” says Janet Kelly.

“We want to encourage people to consider putting their names forward when nominations open in March, 2004.”

[ends]

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