The battle for control of Sydney’s exclusive Ascham private school for
girls
has been reignited with a call from the Concerned Parents group for
the
school’s chairman, Justice Margaret Stone, to quit.

For almost a week, Ascham has been quiet as parents mulled over the decision
of
the former headmistress, Susan Preedy, to maintain her resignation. But now
the
500-600 concerned parents have struck again in an attempt to force
the
departure of the school Council Chairman Justice Margaret Stone.

A long letter to Justice Stone, signed by a number of parents on the
Concerned
Parents group executive, urges Justice Stone to “put the wellbeing of
Ascham
and its students first” and resign.

“If your regret for the discord of recent weeks is genuine and if you want
to
remove the remaining cause of that discord then your course of action
is
clear,” the letter to the chairman of Ascham’s Governing
Council
members said. “The school needs a fresh start and fresh leadership
untainted by
bitterness and suspicion. In the eyes of many parents the present
Council of
Governors has lost the authority to guide the school through this
period of
transition.” Read the entire letter here.

Among the signatories were Norman Swan, the well-known ABC broadcaster,
and
Bettina Arndt, the former News Ltd and Fairfax social affairs writer.
Another
was Sydney Morning Herald journalist Kate McClymont.

The letter was also sent to all members of the Governing Council, and the
stage
is now set for another brawl. Will PR firm Jackson Wells Morris resume
their
spinning campaign, or is it too late?

CRIKEY: To find out who will win the Battle of Ascham, follow the money.
The
parents are the people responsible for most of the school’s $18 million
annual
revenue through fees ranging from $16,000 to $20,000 a year (and more
for
borders). They who control the purse strings will call the tune!

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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