Documents released by the Ministry of Education to ONE News show one of the country's first charter schools was plagued with problems from the start.
Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru, north of Whangarei, has lost three staff members and more than 16 percent of its student role since opening in February.
Emails between the school principal Natasha Sadler, her staff and the Ministry show the school's been struggling to keep up because of a raft of problems.
The emails raise concern over children arriving at school high on drugs, reports of stealing, bullying, racism, vandalism of school property and gang associations.
NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Judith Nowotarski says the revelations come as no surprise and show what happens when governments are driven by ideology instead of listening to educators.
"Principals and teachers will be appalled that $2.4 million has been thrown away on a totally dysfunctional experimental," says Ms Nowotarski.
The school was seeking $1500 each week in funding to assist students addicted to cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.
Soon after the school opened it was appointed a governor by the Ministry of Education. The governor's since completed his term and says he's confident the school is making reasonable progress.
"Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru School is clearly a shambles despite the huge level of resourcing and a ratio of one teacher per eight students based on its reported role of 56 students."