Palmerston North school Mana Tamariki seeking way out of financial trouble

Mana Tamariki students perform at a public march in 2013.

Mana Tamariki students perform at a public march in 2013.

The Ministry of Education has stepped in to help a Palmerston North school break even after a series of deficits.

A financial recovery plan has been launched for Mana Tamariki after it outspent  its income  two years in a row. 

Board of trustees chairwoman Leanne Clayton supplied a statement prepared by whanau and the board.

"The kura is working with the Ministry of Education and a specialist adviser to ensure that the kura is financially viable. 

"In consultation with our auditor, financial provider and specialist adviser, we have completed a review of our financial systems and have put in place new processes to support us, moving forward."

Ministry of Education deputy secretary of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the ministry had not "formally intervened", but was providing educational and financial advice to Mana Tamariki's board of trustees.  

The Maori immersion school topped the list of Manawatu regional schools  that posted an operating deficit in 2015, with $206,027 more going out than coming in, and saved funds of just $23,348 at the end of the year.

The school's deficit in 2014 was $155,683. The school's 2016 report is currently being audited. 

Mana Tamariki caters for children from preschool through to the end of high school. It was started as a kohanga reo in 1989, and a home-schooled kura opened in 1995. In 2010, the school opened a new $3 million building in Grey St. 

Staff and board trustees did not respond directly to questions about the reasons behind the financial issues, and their plans to tackle the problems. 

The school also reported deficits of $35,907 in 2010, $134,796 in 2008 and $58,470 in 2006, figures supplied by the Ministry of Education showed. 

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In 2015, almost 40 per cent of Manawatu schools outspent their income, ministry data shows. Reasons given included the need for more support staff than they were directly funded for, depreciation and maintenance work, and costs associated with providing opportunities at isolated rural schools. 

The next highest operating deficits in Manawatu for 2015 were Lytton Street School, of Feilding, $96,443; Levin School, $84,364; Levin North School $75,622; Taihape Area School, $73,903. 

 - Stuff

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