School manager Eru leaves post

By Peter de Graaf

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Mike Eru arriving at Moerewa School when the Board of Trustees was sacked two years ago. PHOTO / FILE
Mike Eru arriving at Moerewa School when the Board of Trustees was sacked two years ago. PHOTO / FILE

A controversial government-appointed manager has stepped down from his role at a Kaikohe school.

The departure of Mike Eru from Kaikohe Intermediate School earlier this week came about after a meeting between Associate Education Minister Pita Sharples and disgruntled community members.

Mr Eru was appointed limited statutory manager at 170-pupil Kaikohe Intermediate last August. He is also the commissioner of Moerewa School.

He will be replaced at Kaikohe by Larry Forbes, who has been in charge of Pamapuria School since the arrest of paedophile teacher James Parker in 2012. Mr Forbes was not certain what had prompted Mr Eru's departure.

''Mike and the Ministry agreed that the situation required some kind of circuit-breaker. What contributed to that situation, I'm not sure yet. I think Mike had reached a stage where there was an impasse,'' he said.

Mr Forbes was planning to meet staff and community members next week.

A Kaikohe teacher, who did not wish to be named, said complaints about Mr Eru included refusing to allow pupils to attend a tangi for the principal's father and his lack of teaching experience.

Katrina Casey, the Education Ministry's head of enablement and support, said a recent change of circumstances at the school meant a change of appointee was needed. Mr Forbes was appointed following a meeting between community representatives and the Ministry. Mr Eru agreed with the decision and offered to stand down.

Ms Casey said progress was made around the curriculum, assessment and financial management during Mr Eru's tenure, but more had to be done. Much work was needed to improve board systems and processes, she said.

A spokeswoman for Dr Sharples confirmed he had met a group from Kaikohe in Auckland last week. He had not recommended any particular action but had referred the issue to the Ministry.

Mr Eru was paid $100 an hour for up to 40 hours' work a month at Kaikohe Intermediate. He has been the commissioner at Moerewa School since Education Minister Hekia Parata sacked the Board of Trustees two years ago for refusing to close a senior unit. That intervention, which is due to end on June 9, is thought to have cost the decile-one school close to $200,000.

Mr Forbes' time at Pamapuria School is due to end on May 27 when a new Board of Trustees takes over. Four trustees have been appointed by the Ministry with two due to be elected by the community and one by staff.

Appointing of a limited statutory manager to run a school is a less drastic intervention than installing a commissioner because the Board of Trustees remains in place.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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