Ministry steps in to help Hastings school clarify finances

By Nicki Harper -
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HELP: The Hastings Intermediate School Board has asked the Ministry of Education for help. PHOTO/PAUL TAYLOR
HELP: The Hastings Intermediate School Board has asked the Ministry of Education for help. PHOTO/PAUL TAYLOR

The Ministry of Education has stepped in to help Hastings Intermediate School's Board of Trustees "clarify their financial position".

However, the ministry said it had not appointed a commissioner.

The news comes as the long-serving chair of the school's board, Jeannette MacKenzie, resigned last week and follows the announcement in July of principal Andrew Shortcliffe leaving to take on the role of principal of Fairfield Intermediate in Hamilton, starting this month.

Ministry of Education acting head of sector enablement and support Susan Howan said the board had invited the ministry and the New Zealand School Trustees' Association to help them.

"They have indicated that they welcome the support we can provide, and we have not appointed a commissioner to run the school," she said.

That support process started on Friday. The ministry planned to meet with the board early this week, and the move follows ongoing assistance that the ministry's regional finance adviser has been giving Hastings Intermediate School for the past two years.

It's understood the situation surrounds the school's negative working capital, after the school lost about $100,000 in funding when its decile increased from a decile two to three in 2014.

The ministry said in an earlier statement this represented about 11 per cent of the school's overall annual funding, and the change in funding would take place over three years, the full decrease coming into effect from 2017.

At the time, the school's funding cut represented one of the country's biggest drops.
It's understood a school leadership academy group visit to Fiji planned for this year had been put off, and an advertisement for a new principal was still on the school website.

Ms MacKenzie declined to comment yesterday and referred enquiries to the new chairperson. Attempts to contact Mr Shortcliffe or the new chairperson were unsuccessful yesterday.

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