School board stands firm on relievers' pay
A school board of trustees is standing by its decision to make its teachers pay for relievers if they wanted to attend a union meeting.
The board of St Teresa's School in Karori wrote to parents yesterday explaining its decision, after staff told The Dominion Post that they felt upset and undervalued by the move.
The board said it had received advice from the School Trustees Association that it was not responsible for paying relief teachers.
Its letter says the board "absolutely recognises and respects the teachers' right to attend paid union meetings". At the same time, it had a responsibility to pupils and families to ensure the school continued to operate as normal.
The board asked that staff attend two separate meetings of the New Zealand Educational Institute - in Wellington and in Lower Hutt - but the teachers instead chose to attend the same meeting at the Michael Fowler Centre on Tuesday.
"The board appreciates that the staff may have been disappointed with this decision but we had to take all factors into account, including the inconvenience to parents potentially being asked to collect children after lunch," the letter says. "We continue to support the great work teachers do . . . for our children."
NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter said he stood by his comments that having staff pay for relievers was an "inappropriate" practice, and one he had never heard of before.
Staff could not be contacted, and it is understood the board has warned them against speaking to the media.
The Dominion Post