These NZ schools need “a darned good British style thrashing, six of the best, trousers down”

Results of the 2016 school audits are out and if these seven schools were students they would deserve six of the best trousers down. You will be shocked at what they have been getting away with.

On Friday 17 November, Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Al-Madinah School in Auckland.

Potential conflicts between school Board of Trustees and proprietor

Al Madinah School (2014) – We issued a modified opinion on the school’s financial statements because we could not tell whether the financial statements included all the related party transactions. We also referred to a potential conflict of interest in our audit report. The proprietor of the school, who is not a public entity, has two representatives on the school’s Board of Trustees (board), and a third board member was also a senior representative of the proprietor.

We also found a potential lack of clarity about the school’s fundraising. The proprietor collects funds from parents, including an activity fee collected for the school board. During the year, the board allowed the proprietor to keep the school’s portion of the funds collected, totalling about $28,000. The school should receive all funds collected for the benefit of the school.

$28,000 into the proprietor’s pocket! Why is the proprietor still in charge?

Gifts and hospitality

Blockhouse Bay Intermediate (2016) – The school spent $12,000 on hospitality in the year. This included $7,000 for a farewell party and a $3,000 leaving gift for the principal, which exceeded the $1,000 the board had approved.

[…] 2.21
Blockhouse Bay Intermediate (2016) – As well as the issues noted above, we drew attention to the school not passing on $3,700 collected specifically for Fiji flood victims. The school kept the funds and used them for school purposes. Also, the school paid $2,500 for expenses incurred for overseas trips without suitable receipts.

Overspending is bad but keeping money collected for charity is just wrong.

Kingsford School (2016) – The board gave vouchers to the value of $10,000 to the principal as a leaving gift.

$10,000? My goodness people can be generous when it is not their money that they are giving away.

Puhinui School (2016) – The board gave the principal a $8,500 ride-on mower when he left the school. Although the board approved the gift, it was not consistent with the school’s gift policy, which allowed a gift to the value of $1,000.

We consider this level of expenditure on hospitality and gifts to be relatively high for a school. Spending on farewells and retirements should be both moderate and conservative, and suitable for the occasion.

Relatively high? Talk about an understatement, what is a tiny little school like Puhinui doing giving away $8500 ride-on mowers?

Expenditure not clearly for school purposes

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Te Kura Kokiri (2012) – We modified our opinion on the kura’s financial statements because it had limited controls over payments. We issued a similar qualification for 2011. We also drew attention to:

  • inadequate documentation and no evidence of approval for the repayment of expenses paid out of a personal account that were considered to be school payments;
  • unsually high levels of fuel expenses, food and groceries, and koha payments;
  • repairs and maintenance paid on cars not owned by the school;
  • payments for a trip to Rarotonga; and
  • satellite television subscriptions paid by the school.

The audit reports for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 are still outstanding for this kura.

If this kura was a Charter school it would have been closed by now.

Wellington College (2016) – The school employed a fundraiser who mainly raised funds for a foundation, an independent entity with close links with the school. The foundation has not reimbursed the school for the services it received from the fundraiser. It is inappropriate for the school to use public money to pay an employee to raise funds for a private entity.

Inappropriate? Another understatement from the audit team!

Room 20
Manurewa West Primary School

Manurewa West School (2016) – As well as the expenditure on overseas trips mentioned above, the school made additional payments to the principal without getting permission from the Ministry. The payments included; home broadband and telephone, well-being payments, and a “revitalisation and refreshment sabbatical grant”.

Don’t you love the weasel words employed for the payments? What is a “well-being” payment? What is a “revitalisation and refreshment sabbatical grant”?

-2016 Audit Report

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