Big Tick for Trusteeship
Recent survey results show school trustees have given their experience on school boards a big tick, and more than half are so positive about their experience they are planning to stand again in the coming elections.
An October survey shows that 96 per cent of trustees rated their experience on a school board as positive and almost the same number felt they had personally gained from the experience.
Elections Project Manager Janet Kelly says she is also pleased to see that just over half of those surveyed intend to put their name forward again and another 13 per cent are still making up their mind.
But she says that at least another 6,500 candidates will still be needed to stand in the next triennial elections in March 2007.
“The more informed people we have standing the better and we are aiming to get 20,000 New Zealanders to put their names forward. As with any democracy it works best when there are a number of candidates with a range of skills and experiences to choose from”.
While almost a third of trustees say they are planning to stand down next year, the majority of these (62 per cent) say it is because their children are leaving school. Another group – 14 per cent - say that it is time for a change and for new people to come forward.
Janet Kelly says the survey demonstrates the strength of New Zealand’s system of self-managed schools and that it is well supported by the community.
“It’s interesting to note that a third of trustees have been on a school board for more than five years. And with more than half of all trustees willing to stand again it appears that the community’s commitment to our students remains very strong.”
54 per cent of respondents rated their experience on a school board as “very positive” while a further 42 per cent rated it as “quite positive”. More than nine out of ten said they had benefited personally from their time serving on a board.
Among the most noted benefits on the survey were increased personal confidence, improved business skills, making new contacts and friends and gaining a better understanding of the school system.
Next year’s election will be the seventh since self-managed schools began in 1989. The school trustee elections campaign is New Zealand’s biggest democratic event, with 13,000 trustees required to fill boards for 2,500 schools.