Highview board chair hits back at critics

The chair of Maryborough’s Highview College board has hit back at critics, disputing allegations of improper board conduct and an enrolment drop in the wake of an acrimonious dispute between the board, teachers and parents. 

The Courier reported on Saturday the school was facing turmoil over the complex dispute, with staff resigning and students leaving. The Courier had spoken to over a dozen anxious and angry teachers, former teachers and parents who have expressed their frustration at what they describe as a ‘bloc’ that has been formed and shutting out any dissent on the board.

But Highview College’s board chair Gillian Tattersall said contrary to the claims enrolments had grown under the leadership of Principal Ms Melinda Scash. Ms Tattersall said the students were drawn from a wide local government area including the shires of Mt Alexander, Hepburn, Pyrenees, Northern Grampians, Buloke and Central Goldfields but this aligned with the strategic aims of the school.

Ms Tattersall also released a statement saying that while the school’s listed criteria for assessing board members was of importance, they “were not the sole basis for assessing applicants”.

“In order for the board to work effectively it is crucial for it to act cohesively,” she said. “The ability of individual fit and desire to contribute to a cohesive culture was an overarching element in the assessment of each application.”

The statement noted in the past the schools Articles of Association did not have a formal nomination process for the board and the board wanted to develop and adopt one as a matter of good governance. This was then applied to all nominations, the statement read.

Ms Tattersall said she was not “aware of plans to defer” the upcoming annual general meeting on May 23 and the agenda listed no proposal to introduce a new constitution.

She did not confirm whether board applicants had received correspondence detailing the reasons for their rejection. 

Critics have alleged nominations for the school’s board have been dismissed arbitrarily and those people who nominated for the board have been rejected on grounds never made clear to them; that proxy votes at the upcoming AGM have been disallowed without constitutional basis. 

The school stated successful applicants for board positions had to be members of the Highview company, be nominated and seconded by other members, complete the application independently and have evidence of their skills. Referees could not be family members, due to concerns around bias.   

Read the full story of the criticism here