From the Sunday Age
Methodist Ladies College has cut ties with the Uniting Church, three years after parents angered by the sacking of principal Rosa Storelli asked the church to intervene.
The prestigious girls' school has overhauled its constitution, preventing the Uniting Church from getting involved in governance or finance matters. .
The changes also curtail some of the power of the school's nine person non-executive board, which is a roll-call of some of Australia's most influential people, including Tony Peake, a managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and demographer Bernard Salt.
In an email sent to the school's community, the board chairwoman, publisher Louise Adler, wrote that the changes reflect the 2013 independent governance review in the wake of the Storelli saga.
"The new constitution formally recognises the independence of the college and appropriately reflects modern governance requirements," Ms Adler wrote.
After her sacking, Ms Storelli and other members of the school community reached out to the church to resolve the dispute but were told the church could not intervene.
The Reverend Mark Lawrence, general secretary of the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, acknowledged the separation but added the church would continue to run the school's chaplaincy.
"The synod standing committee came to the view that, with some sadness, the church understood the appropriateness of the changes sought by the school," he said.
Among the changes, alumni and school parents will be added as representatives to the school's council, which will elect the board and will now also have the power to remove the board.
It is a significant turnaround from the last few constitutional changes, which stripped parents and alumni of any formal influence.
The school refused to make further comment.
Ms Storelli was sacked over claims she was overpaid by more than $500,000 over the 15 years she led the school. The board later said she had done nothing wrong.
Major benefactor Marjorie Nicholas, a member of the family behind Aspro pharmaceuticals who was a vocal critic of the board's "mind-blowing hubris", has since been appointed to the board.
The 133-year-old school charges between $16,230 and $27,300 per year, plus a $1250 enrolment fee. It teaches 2200 students and has almost 500 staff.