P&C to be dissolved as Adrian Piccoli prepares for overhaul

The NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations (P&C) will be dissolved this week, as Education Minister Adrian Piccoli overhauls it, appoints an administrator and bans parents without children at school from being involved.

Mr Piccoli said he had no option but to take the "drastic step" of introducing legislation on Tuesday to dissolve the warring P&C and completely revamp the federation.

"For too long, there have been a lot of people at a high level in the federation who have been much more interested in politics than our public schools," Mr Piccoli said.

He said the federation had been given years to sort out its internal problems but he was no longer willing to wait.

The new legislation would divide the state into 16 areas to "ensure that parents in Albury are equally represented alongside parents in Abbotsford".

A new governing body will be elected, which will then select a seven-member executive committee to be responsible for the day-to-day running of the federation, and only 48 people will be eligible to attend the federation's annual meeting, unlike the unwieldly 6000 who are technically eligible to attend under present arrangements.

"A lot of people were just using the AGM as an excuse to come to Sydney, that won't happen any more," Mr Piccoli said.

Both Lyall Wilkinson and Sharryn Brownlee claim presidency of the federation, which has been caught up in a bitter power struggle for a decade.

However, things hit a new low early last month when Ms Brownlee and two other women took control of the federation's headquarters in Granville and staged an overnight sleep-in.

Hours later, they were ousted by security guards and Mr Wilkinson applied for a Supreme Court injunction to force Ms Brownlee to return any documents she seized.

The matter is due back in court next week, and this is believed to be the reason Mr Piccoli is determined to have the legislation passed this week.

The federation, which represents more than 1900 local P&C groups from 2226 schools, was the focus of a 2012 report, which found it to be plagued by bullying and factional infighting.

Mr Piccoli said even freezing the federation's annual funding was not enough to force change.

"We need the federation to be much more professional than this and we need a much tighter representative structure," he said.

All parents, carers and community members could continue to participate in local P&Cs, the Minister said, but only parents and carers of current public school students would be able to vote or be elected to the new federation.

Elections for the new federation, supervised by the NSW Electoral Commission, will be held in the next few months and it is expected a new governing body will be in place in term 4 this year.

NSW Greens MP John Kaye said the battle of wills had gone on for too long and it was time NSW had a strong and united voice for parents in the public education system.

"There are parents and citizens out there sizzling sausages and selling lamingtons working to support their local schools," Dr Kaye said. "They deserve the backing of a functioning federation to support public schools in NSW."

The story P&C to be dissolved as Adrian Piccoli prepares for overhaul first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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