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Education Minister insults local Board of Trustees

Monday, 13 June 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT

Education Minister insults local Board of Trustees

Otaki Labour Candidate Peter Foster says that the Education Minister has insulted a local Board of Trustees.

Mr Foster says that “the Otaki Health Camp School may close. The school was hand delivered a letter from the Minister in May indicating that the school may close. The school was given only four weeks to consult with staff and the wider community.”

“There are seven health camps in New Zealand and five of them including Otaki have schools associated with them. The proposal from the Minister is that the remaining five schools may be closed. Education and health camp services would then be provided at the camps by a single provider”.

Six Board members, three of whom were personally appointed by the Minister of Education, have signed a strongly worded letter to her stating “It is nonsensical to suggest that from the point of first learning about the possibility of closures we could, with integrity, provide due diligence to providing you with an informed and reasoned response.”

The Board’s letter was copied to a number of people including Mr Foster who met with the school’s principal Karen McAviney (pictured) to listen to and discuss her Board’s concerns. Mr Foster said “Mrs McAviney reiterated to me that the Board’s view was that they had not been presented with one shred of evidence to suggest that their most vulnerable students would be equally served, let alone better served with a different model.”

Mr Foster was disgusted with the way the Minister was treating the school. “This is a school that deals with some of our most vulnerable children. As Board chair of Waikanae School and a member of the Paraparaumu College Board of Trustees, I understand the time and commitment Board members make to serve their school communities. The Board and their vulnerable students deserve better than this. I hope this principled stand by the Otaki Health Camp School Board of Trustees jolts the Minister into broadening her consultation timeframe and process.”

ends

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