Timaru singled out in education audits

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012

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Timaru Boys' High School has been singled out in a report for an unapproved investment last year.

The Auditor--General's Office released its report on the education sector this week, based on audits carried out last year.

It showed Timaru Boys' had invested $170,000 without approval in organisations other than approved banks, therefore failing to comply with legislation.

Board chairman Mark Elliotte said last night the school had had no communication from the Auditor-General's Office. The school had received an unqualified audit report last year. "The majority of the funds referred to relate to investments belonging to our boarding hostel that were held in a providers reserve account.

"All the funds were of a historical nature, which the board was aware of and was taking action to obtain retrospective Ministry of Education approval.

"These funds were brought into our main investment accounts in 2012."

The report show some board's around the country been spending taxpayers' money on traffic fines, satellite television subscriptions and contracting companies owned by their trustees.

It highlighted that there were at least a few schools in serious financial difficulty and 200 with a working capital deficit.

The "audit reports mentioned matters concerned with probity, prudence, or waste", controller and auditor-general Lyn Provost said.

In total, 33 schools borrowed more than they were legally permitted, 16 gave loans to staff and 10 had conflicts of interest, including Sacred Heart College in Auckland.

The country's 2250 schools have an operating expenditure ranging from $200,000 to $20 million.

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- The Timaru Herald

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