Legal tussle looms as Christian international school managers refuse to quit despite being ordered to go by the church A Christian international school has been plunged into an 'unprecedented' legal crisis with managers refusing to give in to demands by the school's owners to step down. The Kowloon Tong Church of the Chinese Christian and Missionary Alliance's governing board of deacons gave the five managers of the Christian Alliance PC Lau Memorial International School a week, ending on Wednesday this week, to resign. But yesterday the five, who sparked rebellion among teachers and parents by deciding to replace principal Arthur Enns, remained in control. They insisted they were legally responsible for the private school under the Education Ordinance. Stanley Li Yiu-sang, a deacon and convenor of an ad hoc committee set up to replace the managers, said the church, which appointed the managers, was surprised to find it could not easily remove them. It would now try to persuade them to resign 'in a dignified manner'. If that did not work, deacons would consider going to the Education and Manpower Bureau to ask Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, the Permanent Secretary of Education, to deregister them as required by the ordinance, he said. Teachers and parents are calling on the EMB to act quickly as Mr Enns' contract expires at the end of July. They have prepared what they claim to be evidence for Mrs Law to remove the committee on grounds that it is not managing the school properly. They plan to present it to the EMB next week. A teacher, who asked not to be named, said: 'We have a situation where the church which owns the school has basically had its school kidnapped by a gang of five. This is an emergency situation. You have a school in crisis. If it is not resolved quickly the level of destruction will be horrendous.' Significant numbers of teachers were looking for other jobs and many parents were planning to withdraw their children, he added. Teachers, he said, were '100 per cent united' with the church and deacons. All but one signed a petition supporting their action. 'The game is pretty rough at the moment,' he said. The Education Ordinance, he said, needed amending to ensure that managers could not act in 'complete defiance' of a school's owners, stakeholders and teachers. Parent Jeff Shurr said the situation was 'unprecedented' for the church and tested Hong Kong education law. 'If the EMB drags its feet and plays into the hands of the management committee we are going to make a big noise,' he said. Mr Li said the ad hoc committee would have to carefully consider the position of Mr Enns because a contract with Ip Tin-yau, currently co-principal of Yew Chung International School, had already been signed. A spokesman for the five managers said: 'It is quite clear our church does not want us to stay. But in the Education Ordinance we are the registered school managers and have to be responsible for running the school. 'Our position remains unchanged. We have not stepped down so far and we have no intention of stepping down. We are requesting a full dialogue with them. So far we have not been given any reasons and no opportunity to speak with them.' The managers held their first open meeting on the crisis on Tuesday. The spokesman said he assured parents that the school would remain unchanged in everything except the principal. He added the deacons had supported the decisions not to renew Mr Enns' contract and to appoint Mr Ip. They later changed their minds. 'That has made the situation very difficult.' Mr Li denied there had been no dialogue with the managers as one of them, Dr Pang Hau-chong, was a deacon who had participated in the deacons' meetings and was chairman of the church's education committee. Mr Enns said: 'It is a very tense situation. I am concerned about not only the short-term but the long-term welfare of the students and the school, which are very important to me.' He would continue 'leading with a strong hand' until the end and stay on as principal if given the chance. An EMB spokesman said it was a complicated and 'rare' situation. 'Officers of the regional and head office are looking into the case to see if we can help. But it will take time,' he said.