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Christchurch Girls' BoT chair steps down

Tuesday 27 Nov 2012 4:58 p.m.

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By 3 News online staff

James Margaritis has stepped down as the chairman of the Christchurch Girls’ High School Board of Trustees, after a meeting last night in which parents called for the whole board to resign.

The former chairman has come under heavy scrutiny after the school board stripped principal Prue Taylor of her position over a series of issues.  

Ms Taylor has since fought dismissal, receiving interim reinstatement after a hearing with the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) over the fiasco. She will retain her position at the school until a full hearing on Feburary 4. 

A spokesman for the school board, Tim Priddy, said Mr Margaritis’ resignation was not the consequence of a specific reason, but he did cite a breakdown in the relationship between Ms Taylor and the former chairman.

The ERA hearing had revealed a serious breakdown in relationship between Ms Taylor and Mr Margaritis, occurring over a long period of time.

The hearing had also revealed that Mr Margaritis' daughter was suspended by Ms Taylor only weeks before the board stripped Ms Taylor of her position.

“It gives an opportunity for some of that tension to be removed and for us to work through in a more constructive and positive relationship,” Mr Priddy told 3 News.

Mr Margaritis' decision was also fuelled by what Mr Priddy called a good deal of “unfair scrutiny” after a “serious breach of confidentially” at the ERA hearing.

“There has been a serious breach of confidentially in some very private and confidential matters,” he said.

“They actually amount to serious misconduct as an employee … they were even included in Ms Taylor’s submission.”

“I think it's quite acceptable for James to step back right now and try and calm things down”. 

Mr Margaritis will however retain a general position on the board until the elections in May. Deputy chairwoman Robyn Burgess will take the role of acting chairwoman until that time.

Ms Taylor will be back on the school grounds by December 12, after a statutory manager is employed for a limited time to manage the relationship between her and the board.

READ MORE: Government may step in over Prue Taylor 

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