From the Board - Our Strategic Direction
Our Strategic Direction
(as published in Kaleidoscope magazine - issue 61)
One of the Board’s key functions is to evaluate and determine Kristin’s strategic direction in the short, medium and long-term future.
Each year the Board and the Senior Management Team (comprising the Executive Principal, the Principals and the Finance Director) carry out a strategic planning exercise. The fast pace of change in these times makes foreseeing beyond the medium term extremely difficult so, increasingly, the Board’s focus has been on ensuring that it has the skills and networks to sense what lies ahead and to adjust the strategic direction to respond to changing circumstances.
The Strategic Planning Workshop this year will be particularly important. The change in Executive Principal represents an opportunity for the Board and the Senior Management Team to take a fresh look at the way we do things at Kristin, to evaluate whether we are still following best practice and to ensure the school’s values and practices are aligned.
As preparation for this process, we have commissioned external consultants to carry out research to ‘take the temperature’ of our stakeholder groups. Thank you to everyone who has participated in our recent surveys and focus groups. The information we have gathered will inform the strategic thinking that we undertake.
Capital Works Programme
The current economic conditions, while still a little volatile, are nonetheless the most benign they have been since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) began in 2007. While Kristin weathered the GFC storm well, its roll was, nonetheless, impacted. This, in turn, had an effect on Kristin’s capital works development programme.
When the Building Greatness programme was launched prior to the GFC, it contained two significant projects – the Hockey Turf and the Aquatic Centre. The Hockey Turf has been completed. The Aquatic Centre remains on the Board’s capital works programme since the case for such a facility is sound from an educational point of view.
Always, the construction of the Aquatic Centre was going to be dependent on the economic conditions being favourable so that the project was financially prudent. In 2007 the estimated cost of the Aquatic Centre ($7.0m) was to be funded by a mix of bank borrowing ($4.0m) and fundraising ($3.0m). The project assumed that the average roll of the school prior to 2007 (1,650) would continue and that the debt associated with the project would be repaid aggressively within 10 years.
Sensing the impact the GFC would have on the prevailing economic conditions (including on the average school roll), the Board refocused its priorities to prudent cost containment and debt repayment. We believe that this was the best strategy for Kristin to adopt.
Since 2007 Kristin has reduced its long-term debt by more than $5.0m. Priority was given to capital works projects which were necessary to maintain the value of the school’s educational facilities and to improve access to and from the school as part of Auckland Transport’s project to widen Albany Highway and signalise the Rosedale Road intersection.
Another capital development priority was to pursue projects which make the most of the school’s assets to increase and diversify Kristin’s sources of income. The new Medical Centre is such a project, which now provides an income stream independent of school fees. In a similar vein, the Board is very excited by the proposed development of an Early Childhood Centre, to be known as ‘Little Doves’. While the project will require further refinement before it is signed off, the business case for the centre is compelling. It will provide a significant income stream and will provide another entry point for students into the school.
Funding development by means of voluntary donations from the Kristin community will remain a necessary and integral part of our development strategy.
With the worst of the GFC behind us and a new Executive Principal leading the school, the Board is excited by the prospect of the innovation and change which this strategic planning process represents. We hope you share our enthusiasm and look forward to providing the community with feedback on the outcome achieved.