Four KwaZulu-Natal public schools have taken the Education Department to court for only telling them this month that they will have fewer teachers next year.
The schools say they were told of the developments a day before the last term ended, leaving them with insufficient time to fill the positions before schools reopen next year.
Gert Maritz and Gelofte primary schools in Pietermaritzburg, and Dundee and Scottburgh high schools, as well as their governing bodies, launched an application in the Pietermaritzburg High Court against Education MEC Senzo Mchunu, the department and its head, Nkosinathi Sishi, on Thursday.
They seek an order setting aside the department’s “educator post establishments” for 2012 – which indicate how many teachers each school has been allocated – pending the finalisation of an application to have the posts for KZN reviewed.
However, the matter was adjourned until next year to allow the department to reply.
The school governing bodies – members of the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools – say that they should have been told of the reduction in posts on or before September 30, but were only told on December 8, after their 2012 budgets had been prepared.
This left the schools with insufficient time to arrange the employment of replacement teachers.
Gert Maritz’s governing body chairman, Gideon van Wyk, representing the schools, said the department’s actions were administratively unlawful, unfair and unreasonable.
According to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, governing bodies of public schools, the MEC and HOD had certain responsibilities and deadlines to comply with, which was essential as it had practical significance in the efficient and effective running of schools.
He said the appointment of additional teachers and how much schools had to pay for them could only be considered once the educator post establishments were known.
“Because of the MEC’s failure to meet the September 30 deadline, the implementation of the educator post establishments for 2012 at such a late stage in the year would lead to a breakdown in the system,” he said.
According to the department, Gert Maritz would lose six teachers, Gelofte and Dundee one each and Scottburgh two.
Van Wyk said the schools had prepared and approved their respective budgets after September 30, on the presumption that the posts would remain the same.
The late release of the changes had huge financial implications for the schools, he said.
If the schools could not fill the vacant positions, class sizes would increase in the affected grades, impacting on the quality of teaching. – The Mercury
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Schools take Education Dept to court