The Home Education Association Inc (HEA Inc) has been taken away from the members and used, without authority, to sue 5 home educators over the past 18 months. The latest being a dispute with the website contractor that has been lodged with NCAT where they are suing the contractor for “faulty goods”. On every occasion there was no motion, no vote and no minute noted for the HEA to enter into litigation. Negotiation and mediation require a willingness to find a mutually agreeable outcome for all parties. In all cases the group, now the HEA committee, has sent letters of legal demand, threats and accusations. These prevent good will and impact on the effectiveness of mediation.
The HEA can remove the case from NCAT at any time. Your vote sends a message that the members are not OK with its association suing homeschool families. That homeschoolers are not OK with its association spending their funds to persecute others and implicate members in their actions against others.
The legal action through NCAT must be immediately dropped.
A brief history
In 2016, an ambitious program was instigated by the committee to progress the association to a professional community organization. It was recognized that this vision would require a complete overhaul of the association’s technology. In September 2016, Icon Innovations, a reputable web design company, and home-schooling family, were contracted to go through the HEA’s resources and come back with a proposal on how to advance the association’s technological needs.
Their review found that the systems needed updating as the current system was mostly built into the current outdated website, which is what is still in place to this very day, with all its records and communication systems inside the old website. The association’s operational needs could be vastly improved with more modern digital solutions like G-Suite, now Google Education and video conferencing. To name a few.
In anticipation of increased workloads, two admin staff were hired on a part-time basis with the understanding of the likelihood of increased hours in the future.
This time consuming and challenging work continued in 2017 with the incoming committee. Under their stewardship the new brand and website was completed and was ready to implement in January 2018. All indicators were that the association substantial investment was giving value to the association as membership had increased by almost 500 members, with the most notable achievements being increases in revenue (even after paying staff and the substantial cost of a new brand and website), testing and review of the HEA support and online call page systems, as well as the acquisition of a Google Education status.
Sadly, the 2017 Committee experienced problems and the association came under threat of legal action (initiated by a small group of disgruntled members) and, in this environment, it was determined that it was best to leave the public launch of the previous two committees work to the incoming 2018 Committee.
However, when the process of electing an incoming committee went awry, the finished new brand and website which had been put on hold in January, was left in limbo until May 2019 when the association got an incoming committee.
Finally, the HEA was able to make use of its ownership and control of all the tools and resources commissioned and use them for its members benefit. Instead, the 2019 Committee has chosen to use some of the assets Icon Innovations work procured for the association, such as G-Suite and Google Education, while deciding to commission its own website and not populate the website paid for by the 2017 Committee. This decision was made against the clear instructions left by the outgoing committee to an incoming committee on the processes needed to launch the upgraded website publicly.
At no time has the current held talks or negotiated with the supplier. Instead, they are resorting to legal action through NCAT. On the other hand, the contractor has made many attempts to open discussions to bring the website and associated benefits online for the members benefit. Each of these attempts have been met with legal letters of demand, threats and accusations by the HEA Committee.
Members who have been kept in the dark, or been actively misled, have asked the following questions: See the FAQ article
We think HEA’s office administration staff should be paid as per their contract, not with a unilateral retrospectively changed contract conditions imposed by the current committee.
Do you believe that homeschoolers should sue homeschoolers?
Do you believe that the Objects of Association – designed to support homeschoolers, promote home education, and build support networks – includes using membership money to litigate against homeschoolers?
No, it shouldn’t.
The current HEA committee are using HEA membership funds – your annual subscription to the association – to instigate legal action against a homeschooling family owned and operated business right now. Is this how you want HEA money to be spent?
The legal action through NCAT should be immediately dropped.
ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
Please join me and other members and tell the 2019 Committee to stop misusing the legal system to financially ruin homeschoolers and sign our petition.
The people running the HEA have made many decisions that have brought the association into disrepute within the home educating community. Membership has halved: as many as 600 members have not renewed since May 2018.
These people, purporting to represent the HEA without authority during 2018, and now as the 2019 committee, have acted without transparency to the membership.
Let’s get our association back on track and operating professionally, for the betterment of ALL home educating families again. Sign and share the above petition and give ALL members a chance to resolve these disturbing issues.