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Improve bargaining, PC chair says

Improve bargaining, PC chair says

Finding a better way of industrial bargaining and ensuring the needs of rural schools are met are two key objectives of PPTA’s new Principals’ Council chairperson Don McLeod.

Mr McLeod is the principal of Mount Hutt College in Methven, a school of nearly 400 students an hour southwest of Christchurch.

He has a long history of advocacy within PPTA, having served as the Otago regional chairperson for PPTA in the early 1980s, as a regional delegate to about 10 annual conferences and on various integration and staffing committees.

He says his experience in both small, rural and larger urban schools, commitment to state education and recent involvement in negotiating the secondary principals’ collective agreement encouraged him to take on the chairperson’s role.

“I’m keen to find ways to move things along in industrial bargaining. The 2001-02 secondary teachers’ dispute and my own experience negotiating the secondary principals’ agreement last year clearly demonstrated the need for a better way of bargaining.”

Mr McLeod is also keen to address problems that rural secondary schools face, such as staffing and isolation. He says isolation allowances have in past years disadvantaged some rural schools in need while helping others that are better off.

“The isolation formula takes money away from schools that really need it (Mount Hutt College lost $30000 in operations funding over three years because it was deemed ‘less isolated’, he says) and gives it to some, such as those in the Nelson area, that aren’t isolated and don’t really need it,” he says.

Mr McLeod says PPTA’s decision to boost Principals’ Council funding makes it easier for a principal from a rural secondary school to undertake the role.

“I think it is great for someone from a smaller rural secondary school to be involved at this level.

“We might be out of the mainstream but our voice still needs to be heard.”

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