The following was written by a parent. After investigating it I have found the claims of terrible injustice to be supported.
It is another case of the education bureaucracy listening to the wrong people; believing them to be the worth listening to because, it seems, they want to believe teaching professionals aren’t.
The government and education bureaucrats are doing inhumane things to professional educators as an expression, it is suggested, of a kind of perverted education policy.
This case is like Marlene Campbell’s but even worse; and just as I correctly predicted that Marlene would win after losing her job – I predict that Peggy Burrows after losing her job will win hers back at huge cost to the taxpayer.
(I have made some changes to the letter to conform to the website’s style.)
We the community invite you to visit the ‘support for Peggy Burrows, Principal of Rangiora High School on One News’ Facebook page. The shocking treatment of our community member and a long-standing educationalist (37 years), Principal of RHS, is not acceptable and we the members of our Rangiora community would now like to see a wider political intervention into a totally inappropriate and dysfunctional process.
Since started this page is now 800+ strong from our small community.
Below are some of the questions we are asking and statements we are making.
Why have the Board who were elected in November 2014 never been interviewed about why they were not given an opportunity to govern the school; why did the MOE say the school should have an election and then advise the Minister of Education to sack a Board before it even sat?
Why would the MOE let a person who trained as a nurse and who has only worked as a STA adviser ‘manage’ one of the largest state co-educational secondary schools, when this community has an experienced and respected principal who was doing an outstanding job?
Why is so much school money being wasted on the commissioner?
Is it true that the other Specialist Adviser, Michael Rondel, published a very positive report on the RHS finances in February 2014 but this was not shared with the Board or community before the Board was sacked?
How can the MOE condone letting the Specialist Adviser who wrote the Employment Report that had the Board sacked become the commissioner (surely an unacceptable conflict of interest)?
Under the Principal’s leadership the school managed to increase the $7M received from the sale of 20 hectares of school land in 2007 to $9M by 2014.
Why did the commissioner lead the public to believe in February this year the Principal had taken money she wasn’t entitled to when this, of course, was untrue?
Why did the commissioner lead the community to believe the school has a deficit when it doesn’t – it has in excess of $18 million?
How many of the commissioner’s ‘special’ advisers are ex-board members who were hostile towards the Principal, that is the four who resigned in October 2014 before they could be ousted in the Board election? Ten parents stood for that election which was a fantastic endorsement of the school and the Principal. Two of those hostile board members had no children at the school so they resigned rather than face the humiliation of not getting elected. It had nothing to do with a lack of confidence in the Principal, this has always been about control by a small group of ex-Board members, control that they wanted at any cost whilst attempting to remain hidden.
How can the RHS Principal go from being nationally and internationally recognised as a distinguished educational leader and a finalist in the Woman of Influence Awards in 2013, to a person who has been pressured out of her school by a person who trained as a nurse and has no experience in education?
Why was there no judicial review when the Specialist Adviser was appointed commissioner?
What does it now cost the school to employ advisers for the commissioner because she has no real experience in running a large secondary school and needs their constant assistance?
Why is an unqualified commissioner and not our Principal running the $15M building project? Our Principal has successfully managed all the building projects over the last 12 years on or under budget and on time: Admin Building, Technology Building, Art Extension, B, C, and D Block, Structural re-strengthening, Science refurbishment and many others.
Why would the Ministry of Education allow a principal with 37 years of experience to be removed from her school at a time when there is a $15M building project underway?
If the Principal had done anything wrong surely the commissioner would have found out by now.
This community knows she hasn’t done anything wrong and after nearly six months the commissioner also knows it, but she is not willing to own up to her massive blunder.
Who are the four ex-Board members who the government has listened to and not he community? It is time they came out of the shadows and their names made public.
Why are the students now being used (and by whom) in a propaganda war to perpetuate the idea that the Principal stole money.
We the community demand a full, proper, and complete judicial review of this disastrous commissioner-led process.
What is going on in education when a hugely valuable educational resource such as our Principal can just be cast aside in some political game, played by invisible bureaucrats?
We of this community would like to know how this Principal could go from being recognised as one of New Zealand’s most innovative educational leaders, whose educational research has been widely used, who was a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards in 2013, who turned the school around and served her community so well, to being a person who has been viciously attacked in a Specialist Advisor’s Report written by a non-education commissioner.
This type of bullying is not acceptable in our community. There must be a judicial review of that Report and it must be put in the public arena and not the redacted version this Govt dept is so fond of producing to protect itself.
What has the Ministry of Education done to support the Principal since they initiated this outrageous process? Or is it OK with them that this woman with decades of service to both school and community has been smashed without good reason?
The MOE has a duty of care to deal fairly with those who serve in education, but instead it has systematically tried to destroy the Principal’s good name (hence this page since the commissioner went public), and her health and career.
We, the community, demand a full response from the Govt. department responsible for this outrage.