Trustees ousted from a Far North school by the Ministry of Education will be able to stand for re-election next year following an out-of court agreement.
Members of the former board of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whangaroa applied in the High Court at Whangarei for a judicial review of the ministry's decision regarding its dismissal in June and a hearing was scheduled for yesterday.
However, both parties reached an agreement before the hearing but remained tight-lipped on the outcome.
The agreement comes nearly a year after former principal Louisa Mutu was sacked in December 2013 and the NZ Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal last month cancelled her teacher's registration after she gave sex advice to a 15-year-old girl over Facebook.
The tribunal found she acted in an "unprofessional manner amounting to serious misconduct" and she was ordered to pay $2000 towards the school's legal costs.
Ms Mutu's sacking caused a rift. Staff were locked out for part of the summer break and many parents withdrew their children at the beginning of this year, sending the roll plummeting from 103 to about 36. The roll has since climbed back to about 56.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the ousted board, lawyer Moana Tuwhare, said there would be no legal action unless the ministry breached the terms of the confidential agreement.
"We're happy. The whanau are happy at reaching a conclusion to the whole saga. The proof in the pudding is the ministry sticking to its word," she said.
Ms Tuwhare said the agreement didn't mean the ousted board could not be reinstated.
"We'll have an election in term one next year to put in place a new board of trustees and it's likely all those that were dismissed will get nominated."
She said although there have been a few enrolments at the school recently, the roll was still quite low. Some students who left had returned, while there were new enrolments.
The ministry issued a one-line statement on the pact.
"We are currently discussing a joint statement and it will be released in due course," said head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey.
The ministry appointed Larry Forbes as commissioner to run the school while it investigated complaints about the board's 2013 election.
It said a review had found irregularities in the way the board elections were run last year, which included failing to publicly advertise the election or make sure all potential voters were informed.