New review for embattled elite college principal
THE principal of a strife-torn private school is under investigation for the second time in months.
The board of Hillcrest Christian College, which has been rocked by turmoil including allegations of bullying and financial mismanagement, has commissioned a 'comprehensive, externally-investigated review' of principal Jeff Davis by Independent Schools Queensland.
But some staff have expressed "serious and grave concerns" about the review's impartiality and have lodged formal complaints with ISQ.
The review follows a board-ordered investigation last year into bullying allegations against Mr Davis after major unrest including the suspension and departure of senior staff.
Concerns were also raised about hundreds of thousands of dollars in school loans to a private company set up to commercialise a reading program.
Mr Davis denied any wrongdoing, and the probe cleared him but it later emerged that none of the complainants were interviewed, a situation the Independent Education Union described as "concerning and alarming".
Late last year, the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board launched a review of "administration and governance" at the Baptist Church-run school.
It came after Mr Davis dismissed reports of a NSSAB investigation into Hillcrest as 'fake news'.
The contract of Mr Davis, who earns more than $400,000 a year, is believed to be up for renewal this year.
The college board this week formally sent out invitations to participate in the review of Mr Davis 'as part of the strategic planning process and board governance'.
But some staff have written to ISQ expressing 'serious and grave concerns' about the independence of the review.
"This review is being conducted without the broader school community, including parents and especially staff knowing about it," one disgruntled staffer said.
"Most of the staff being hand-picked for the review are loyal supporters of Mr Davis.
"The question is, will ISQ … ask to speak to other staff members with assurance of confidentiality?"
In a statement, ISQ executive director David Robertson confirmed his organisation had been engaged by the Hillcrest board to undertake a review.
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) confirms it has been engaged by the Hillcrest Christian College Board to undertake a review.
"As part of the review a number of stakeholders are being interviewed," he said.
"These individuals have been independently selected by ISQ without input from the school or Board.
"ISQ has years of experience undertaking school-based reviews and adopts the same standards of independence and professionalism in each case."