Anglicans fight to keep Corran

By Jacqueline Smith

The Anglican Church has weighed into the fight to save a private girls' school in Auckland.

The Bishop of Auckland, John Paterson, said the church was "alarmed" by the decision of the Corran School board to merge with St Kentigern and is considering alternative proposals to maintain its connection with the school.

Bishop Paterson said the diocese was not warned of the proposal before it was made public, and had been trying to meet the Corran trust board to discuss the matter. A meeting is scheduled for next week.

Corran has been aligned to the Anglican Church for more than 50 years.

Bishop Paterson said the diocese had a good relationship with the school, and Corran girls have a weekly chapel service in St Aidan's Church on Remuera Rd.

"Corran has an established identity as an Anglican school and the diocese would want to maintain that connection should that opportunity still be available."

The diocese had been "considering what alternative proposals might be available" since the board announced the merger, he said.

Parents, teachers and the public learned of the Corran board's decision to merge with St Kentigern via emails and press releases sent out by the school on April 6.

This week, parents employed Deborah Collings, QC, to examine the school's trust deed and find out whether there was a case to take out a court injunction.

Parent Rod Fogarty said the parent body had shown "loud and clear" that the Corran board had misjudged their mood when it decided to go ahead with the merger.

The board elected not to reveal the extent of the school's dire financial situation before the announcement, but parents said they would have contributed to save the school if they had known they were at risk of losing it.

Mr Fogarty has called upon the boards of both schools to take a "small step back" and delay the final settlement of the merger for 60 days to enable the parents and the Anglican Church to consider it fully.

Corran board chairman Brent Sierakowski and St Kentigern board chairman Bruce Goodfellow said they were not aware of the parents' request for a 60-day halt on proceedings.

Mr Sierakowski said both parties had signed a contract to settle on April 30 and he was not sure of the legal ramifications of deferring that.

THE PLAN

From next year, Corran School's Remuera Rd site will be renamed St Kentigern School for Girls at Corran, catering for Year 1 to 8.

All assets and liabilities will be transferred to St Kentigern on April 30 (next Thursday). Parents were not informed about the school's financial situation and were not consulted over the merger.

Corran School

300 girls from Year 1 to Year 13. Anglican. Offers Cambridge International Examinations. Fees for secondary-level education are $14,800 a year.

St Kentigern

1650 students from Year 7 to 13 1100 boys and 550 girls. Presbyterian. Does not offer Cambridge. Fees $19,900 a year.

- NZ Herald

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