Teachers at Diocesan Boys' School are fighting plans for it to join the Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS), fearing the move will deprive less-well off children from attending. A majority of the 71 teachers this week voted to set up an association that would urge the school's management committee to abandon the proposal and to 'protest against any unreasonable policy drawn up by the school'. They were acting after the committee announced last Friday that its members had unanimously agreed to apply to the Education Department to switch from aided to DSS status. The change would result in the school charging fees of up to $38,000 a year. It is currently free for students studying up to Form Four. In a closed-doors meeting 49 of the 59 teachers who attended voted against the change. Eight supported it and two abstained. Teacher Ching Cheung-ying said many of his colleagues were concerned the school would become socially exclusive, favouring the rich. 'The school should also pay more respect to teachers and students. We are not even told about the details of the proposal - we only learnt bits and pieces from the media,' he said. An Education Department spokesperson this week urged the school to reach a consensus with all stakeholders before submitting its proposal. But the school management insists that most of the feedback has been positive, claiming that 60 per cent of parents either agreed with or were neutral on the DSS move while about 70 per cent of alumni and nearly 50 per cent of staff - including both teachers and non-teachers - supported it. The survey was conducted after two consultations with stakeholders and a year-long negotiation with the teachers who oppose the change. However, Mr Ching said the school management's interpretation of the survey results was misleading. The exact percentage of parents who agreed with the proposal was not stated, while students' concerns were not taken into account. Despite the opposition, DBS plans to submit its application to the Education Department this month. 'The management committee decides the policy. It would not just consider the interests of a particular group of stakeholders,' said Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, one of the school managers and a member of the Legislative Council's education panel. Mr Cheung added that the management committee had considered the views of different parties and revised its proposal accordingly. The revisions include lowering the annual tuition fees from $60,000 to up to $38,000; inviting teacher and parent representatives to join the school management committee; setting up a staff appeal panel to deal with staff complaints and employment issues; and ensuring teachers that their rights and fringe benefits would remain unchanged. The school's principal, Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung, said that operating under the DSS should allow it to enhance the quality of its teaching faculty and enjoy greater flexibility in curriculum design. 'Our students could be developed further with additional resources,' he said. Mr Cheung said the school would offer full fee remission to students of a family whose annual income fell below $150,000. Other families earning less than $280,000 a year could receive partial remission. The principal also announced that an endowment fund would be set up so that no student should be denied admission on account of financial need. The management committee has launched a fund-raising campaign to raise $77 million for facilities for both the secondary and the new primary section, including a new swimming pool and gymnasium. Dr Lui Siu-fai, chairman of the school's Parent-Teacher Association, said the majority of parents supported the proposal. 'Little progress has been made after a year's negotiation with the teachers and it's time to move forward. Those who oppose the plan have to be reasonable,' he said. Cheung Man-kwong, president of the Professional Teachers' Union, said the school should abandon the plan if it was not supported by the majority of teachers and students. 'We cannot see the advantage the switch could bring to the school. But the damage done to the relationship between the stakeholders is already obvious. The school is the top of the top and Hong Kong cannot afford to see it hurt,' he said.