Signs indicating Shearwater safe
There is still one week to go, but all the signs are that Shearwater Steiner School in Mullumbimby is out of danger of closure due to the recent financial crisis.
“We have pledges for the whole amount needed for the DoCA (Deed of Company Arrangement),” explained chairman of the school board Jan Roskott, “though not all of this money has hit the bank account yet.
“But we are confident that everybody will do what they pledged to do.”
If all goes to plan, then on Tuesday, May 25, the administrators will hand the keys back to the board, the school will once again be solvent, and it will be back to normal trading status.
Mr Roskott emphasised, however, that there was still a lot of work to be done, both to strengthen the school, and to make sure that it never got into the same situation again.
“Now what is crucial is to have sufficient working capital,” he said.
And he also acknowledged that, as he walks through town, he is very much aware of the shops owed money by the school.
“Fundraising will remain a very important activity,” he said, “because of the obligation to pay back all the money owed to trade creditors.”
But there is also a great sense of pride in the community, where everybody came together to fund-raise, and also in the wider Steiner community, where schools from everywhere including the US, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany donated what they could to help.
“The odds were pretty much against us,” admitted Mr Roskott, “and I have heard from someone that we will be the first school in Australia to make it through VA (voluntary administration). In all other cases the schools either went into liquidation or were bought up by other schools.”
The school’s next fundraiser is a Walkathon on Sunday, with all monies raised going to pay off trade creditors, now that it will no longer be needed for the DoCA.
“I am really proud we’ve been able to save the school,” said Mr Roskott.