14 Feb 2013

School asks Parata to stay out of decision on future

6:26 pm on 14 February 2013

The board of a Nelson special needs school has written to the Education Minister asking her to remove herself from any decision-making about the residential school's future.

In 2012, the High Court ruled that the Government's decision to close Salisbury School and move the girls to a boys' school showed a disregard for the greater risk of abuse the girls might face.

Hekia Parata has contacted the school, saying she intends to meet with the board early this year.

In a letter to the minister, school board chair Helen McDonnell says it welcomes Ms Parata's announcement that she will not challenge the High Court's decision.

However, she says given that Ms Parata has been firmly committed to closing the school, the board does not consider that she will be able to approach any new deliberations with an open mind.

Ms McDonnell told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme the board would like another minister to take over deliberations.

"We just want to have a minister that has got a completely open mind who is capable of an impartial and unbiased decision to be able to work towards a solution that is win-win for both parties. That we can still provide a really good service for these underachieving girls."