Teacher banned from management

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 16:42 22/11/2013

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The licensee of a preschool childcare centre who overstated funding claims, resulting in overpayment by the Ministry of Education, is facing restrictions on her ability to undertake school managerial positions.

A decision from the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal said the woman was convicted in the district court in June 2012 on three related charges of taking, obtaining, or using a document for pecuniary advantage.

She admitted the charges and was sentenced to 127 hours community work. Her name and the name of the centre were deleted from the tribunal's published decision.

The police summary of facts said ministry auditors found funding claims for the period from June 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010 were overstated, resulting in overpayments by the ministry of nearly $26,000.

A further audit was carried out of child and staff attendance records for the period from February 1, 2010 to May 31, 2010. An auditor found examples where children were recorded as being at the centre when they had not been there.

For the months of February, March and May 2010, 38 daily attendance records were found to have false information about children attending the centre.

The licensee had used the false records to avoid the ministry seeking the repayment of funding, and to allow the centre to continue to get funding, the summary said.

Ten monthly attendance registers during the months from September 2009 to July 2010 were also shown to have false information about child attendance.

Staff attendance records showed the woman as working at the centre on 11 occasions between February and May 2010, when she was overseas.

The false records provided to the auditor represented more than $6500 in funding claimed from the ministry to which the centre was not entitled.

In an affidavit to the tribunal, the woman spoke about her religious convictions and the process she had tried to go through to put the matter behind her. That included the repayment of the financial benefit she personally received from the fraud.

"Finally, she spoke about her passion for teaching and how eventually she hoped to return to the profession," the tribunal's decision said.

It made an order that for five years the woman not hold a position with managerial responsibility that required registration and a practising certificate as a teacher, until she had undertaken courses on school leadership.

She also had to satisfy officials she had gained a satisfactory level of understanding to enable her to embark on a managerial position in a school.

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