Minutes – MOE / BOT Forum Wednesday 2 March

02 March 2016: Ao Tawhiti Block

Present: Coralanne Child (Director of Education – Canterbury), Simon Hampson (Delivery Manager – Contractor | CSR Programme), David Hobern (CSR Programme Manager)

BoT: Steven, Bee, Matt, Sarina, Karen, Patrice

SLT: Duncan Woods, Blair Sheat, Ian Hayes

Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery Community, parents, students and staff

 

Introduction: Steven introduced BoT members, Coralanne and Simon, welcomed community and outlined purpose and parameters. Simon to begin with update of where we’re at today

 

Simon outlined his role.

Update of yr7-9 community accommodation: Currently located in former ECE building owned by the UC. MoE entering into lease negotiations for new accommodation on Dovedale site

 

1.1bill allocated for 115 schools in Chch. 2013 business case for Ao Tawhiti signed off. Each school assigned to waves, we were assigned to the first quarter of 2015, following merger and establishment of our current school. Initially BoT requested we return to central city. Two lengthy efforts to procure buildings in town then happened, both of which were unsuccessful. Subsequently the MoE has determined that they will purchase land in the CBD and design and build Ao Tawhiti a school. The BoT and SLT will be involved in the design process of the new build.

Next steps: CERA have provided suggested land parcels for crown transfer, MOE currently working with CERA. Once the land is identified, design work will commence concurrently.

Following that, procurement for main contractor will begin. From procurement 3 months till design then 18 months for build. At that time we will move into CBD, whole school under one roof.

MOE states that the lengthy and frustrating history is regrettable. Assurance to the students, staff and community that the MOE is working in the best interests of the school and will continue to do so. Simon opened the floor to questions.

 

Paddy Pawson: Began with mihi, and addressed BoT, thanking their work so far, to staff thank, you for your commitment, to students, thank you for inspiring the work we’re doing. To MoE, summary of the community’s commitment to making it easy for them, agreeing to merger, and our disappointment in the lack of partnership.

Student George, yr 9: I feel like I have finally found a school where I belong. We need to be in the CBD. We have been treated unfairly.

Q: Staff are doing their best and they’re doing well but it’s not easy. Time frames can stretch out, is our location here secure?

Simon-Current leases are being renewed currently. The school is staying on this site apart from this site (Ao Tawhiti block) Otakaro Annex has 2 floors for the students to move to

Q: Can you fund a hub in the CBD for us in the interim?

Simon- We can look at that but it’s the first we’ve heard this request. The preference from the BoT is to have 2 campuses, not 3.

Q: Can we still use the Jack Mann?

Simon- UC has a master plan, an undertaking from the UC to accommodate the school has been revoked. It’s very frustrating for timetabling.

Q: I was told there would be an announcement by Feb, how close are you to finalising the land? Ministers Brownlee and Kaye have been briefed, CERA is working with us to determine the parcels of land. We wait on cabinet to make a decision. We can’t give an assurance of time, but April 18 is the aim, however it rests with Minister Brownlee.

Q: Are we nowhere then?

Simon-We’re not nowhere, we’re in progress

Coralanne- BoT has already done a lot of preparation work, and has been clear on the parameters which will determine the preferred sites. As soon as the MoE are made aware, there will be an announcement. The big difference is to purchase so we have far more control over the process.

Q: Once the land is identified and purchased what’s the timeframe?

Simon-There is no risk in this purchase as its one ministry to another so we can begin design concurrently. 6 months is the quickest design time frame.

Q: Who is controlling the design process? How is what we get being determined?

Simon- There’s a property calculator used for all schools, dependant on the roll. A leadership team is assigned by the school to be part of the design. Many workshops to prepare functional briefs have already happened with the board. BOT will establish a partnership with the community for design purposes.

Q: Current role or projected-current

Simon-Projected

Q: Where can we gather as a community? What has the Mon done to rectify?

Simon- we’ll work with UC to find a gathering space, we’re aiming for a place for at least an hour a day.

Steven-UC is not making it easier for MoE, or for us

Q: What about St John’s space for D1? Can MoE re-address this in the interim for us? What about the other resources eg shade sails.

Coralanne-Under tomorrow’s Schools the MoE cannot demand that a school shares its resources, its up to individual school boards.

Q: The calculator, how many students is it per space? We need more space than other schools

Coralanne- Its square meters so the school can configure it how they want. All schools use it differently

Q: If this process is so much easier why didn’t we start with that?

David- We thought it was faster, and unfortunately it fell over twice, if we’d known we wouldn’t have gone down that route.

Coralanne-The market at the time was different and no-one appreciated the scale of demo and rebuild that was going to happen. Originally there were 51 potential leases but most didn’t meet the MoE requirements, which then needed a developer to build on MoE behalf.

Q: Square meterage, is that current role or forecast?

Simon-670 forecast students

Q: Are we negotiating on a year to year basis for leases

Simon-April 2018 is the current lease aim, which is standard under RMA

Q:What about the lease on the other site (McMahon)

Simon- Its renewable yearly, currently to Dec 2017

Q: What guarantee is there for these leases? We’re in a void

Coralanne-We have to work in good faith with the leases

Q: What about the time frame? Our confidence is really low from the community. Can you build the confidence and show us progress?

Simon-Yes

Q: Timing is a big concern, will you look at it in parallel with other opportunities in town?

Simon-We’ve tried that, it fell over twice. The MoE want to follow through with CERA, so no.

Q: Have you learnt from the previous rebuilds in Canterbury

David-Yes

Q: Regarding the lease, what stops UC doing what they did with this building with the others here? David-They don’t need any others.

Q:Did you not have a lease?

David- Yes it expires in April

Q: Why are you only negotiating a 2 year lease? We’ll be in the same position again

Simon-Under RMA that’s the best we can do.

 

Q: How any options can CERA offer?

Simon-85 sites on the list, we need a floor space of minimum of 2000 square metres, not all of them meet that criteria. I won’t commit to numbers here.

Q: How can this process be stopped now?

Only a crown decision can stop it now

Q:How much pressure was put on the MoE to use the process thus far, eg the public/private partnerships

Simon-We will not discuss this at this time

Coralanne-It’s not about any secret agendas, there are set public agendas, irrespective of the party of the day that we must adhere to, with tax-payers funds. Yes, all of the developent packages we do we do look at PP partnerships and several schools in chch have put their hand up for that eg Aranui, Rolleston. For you it is a design and build. The BoT would be aware if that wasn’t true.

Q: The money used thus far, how does that effect the budget for us now? Can you assure us that we won’t be penalised.

David-Yes we have spent money, the bottom line is we have to provide you with a school that’s fit for purpose

Q: The original date was the end of 2016, now its 2 years out, our roll is low because of the delays. Our children are being penalised because of the roll drop due to delays. Will you provide further funding for staff to make up that shortfall?

Coralanne-We have given you extra funding (EDI) that is also earmarked to make up that shortfall. We’ll continue to work with your board.

Q: What can we spend it on?

SM-It shifts, it’s a moving target, I’m not sure exactly what we can use it for but so far PD and IT. I can’t use it for just staffing

Coralanne-The EDI fundings for moving the school back to where they’re going. It’s not for just staffing, the staffing is a different fund, the BOT can approach the MoE for that funding.

Steven- We get funding for the additional Deputy Director role (this does not come from our EDI)

Q: The funding is for rebuilding the school, will the time limit run out?

Coralanne-It’s with you now, its ring-fenced.

Q:So will it expire? Will it run out

Coralanne-yes the funds need to be spent

Q:But the delays mean the money isn’t going to be available for when we need it

Steven-We’ve earmarked it

 

Q: You said ‘fit for purpose’, we have some of the oldest prefabs in NZ, there’s no lights, or plugs in the breakout rooms, they leak etc. I have heard if we do anymore fit-out there the money comes out of our rebuild pool, is that true?

David-yes, we need to be frugal but it has to be fit for purpose

Q:What does that mean –RMA? Is that different to the lease?

Simon-Yes, the RMA expires April 2018

Q:So if it runs out before the build?

Simon-yes

Q: So you’d have to move us again(if the RMA ran out and couldn’t be renegotiated), together, before the new build?

David-yes, it’s a low risk but yes it is a risk. We don’t want to move you again.

Q: So we’ve lost Jack Mann, we’ve lost HRC, pool, gym etc, they’ve taken these from us. Can you get that back for us?

Coralanne-Under tomorrow’s schools the BOT can decide, the MOE cannot force them to share their resources.

Q: You said it would be 100% certain, and now it’s not, why did you say that?

David-We put our best foot forward, we failed on what we said we’d do, we are trying our best so we’re hesitant to state dates.

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about the new site obviously, what can you do for us now? Will you give us anything to compensate the loss of the things we’re losing or waiting for.

Simon-The reality is that you’ve lost resources and we’ll work with the school to get them back but you didn’t have a gym or playgrounds before in the CBD.

I was in year 3 when I first needed this new building, I’m year 8 now, I might be year 11 when I can get a new school, it’s not fair. Can you recap all of this in language I can understand?

Simon-Absolutely. We failed before. We’ll work with CERA and will use a different way, it has less risk and is more traditional. We won’t tell you dates until we’re sure we can meet them. You’ll get many more updates. We’ll get the land and then we’ll work with the school to design the new school. Then we’ll have a date when you can move. You have lost many years due to the earthquake. The next stage has much less risk and we’re doing our best.

Q:Why aren’t we moving into an already built building?

Meeting ended due to time constraints. Steven invites more Qs to the BoT that can be passed to the ministry and the BoT will feedback any responses.

 

Simon thanked community for attending and asked again for more questions, and guarantees openness and honesty in the answers. Please ask other members that couldn’t attend to also send Qs to the BoT to pass on to the MoE.

 

Meeting ended 8:14pm