New Delhi: Even as several schools began negotiations with the Delhi Public School (DPS) Society to reduce royalty fees and the society’s interference in operations, two owners of DPS branches said they support a past president and ousted board member.
Supreme Court lawyer and Congress party member Salman Khurshid was dismissed from the board last week after sending a letter challenging the governance of the elite school chain. He demanded schools be given the right to vote for chairman of the society and to review its finances.
The society, which runs a network of 115 schools in India and 13 abroad, split in the last fortnight on the issue of giving schools greater say in the functioning of the society.
The society now faces a lawsuit from Khurshid.
In a series of recent meetings, four school owners met the chairman of the society to reduce the number of society nominees on schools’ board of directors, change the role of the board to an advisory one and reduce a proposed hike in annual fees that schools pay, according to a 9 September email sent by Sunil Agrawal, owner of DPS Agra, to a Google group of DPS owners.
A copy of the email was seen by Mint and confirmed by recipients. Agrawal said he had sent the email but did not comment, saying it was “a completely internal matter to DPS”. It was agreed, said the mail, that schools will make an annual payment of Rs10 lakh, with Rs1 lakh annual hike for the first five years and Rs1.5 lakh for the next 10 years.
DPS schools right now pay Rs5 lakh in royalties per year to the society. Khurshid had said that the society planned to raise this to Rs25 lakh.
The mail asked all DPS owners to meet on 13 September.
DPS Sonepat owner, Ranjoo Mann, said she had received the email and called the schools short-sighted. “Why are we being treated as outsiders?” said Mann, whose school admits 1,100 students. “We want to be in the room now.”
Mann said the matter affected all schools, parents and students. She said she favoured Khurshid’s stand: “The case he is fighting for—I see more stability in that.”
DPS Dimapur owner, N. Thomas Ngullie, also a Congress party member, said, “You can’t just throw him out”, calling Khurshid “a pioneer who made DPS a household name”.
The 9 September email said that Agrawal, along with Sanjiv Kumar, owner of DPS schools in Patna, Pune and Ludhiana; Amit Prakash, owner of DPS Vadodara; and DPS Varanasi owner Pradeep Rajgaria met the chairman of the society. It said verbal discussions were held with DPS Surat owner Pradeep Kumar and other.
The mail said it was agreed that existing boards of management in schools will be reduced to three people, with two society nominees. Currently, a DPS school board has nine members.