School kept Fiji flood victims money

Audits of school finances have revealed a school that kept money donated for disaster relief in Fiji and another that spent $250,000 on an overseas trip.

The auditor-general's report on this year's audits of schools' 2016 finances named four schools that spent large sums on overseas trips for staff and students, and three that spent "relatively high" sum on presents for departing principals.

The report found multiple faults in Blockhouse Bay Intermediate's accounting - including keeping relief fundraising money after Cyclone Winston devastated parts of Fiji in 2016.

"We drew attention to the school not passing on $3700 collected specifically for Fiji flood victims," it said.

"The school kept the funds and used them for school purposes."

Blockhouse Bay Intermediate was also among the schools to spend high amounts on an overseas trip, paying $26,000 towards the $82,000 cost of a trip to Korea for 18 students and three teachers.

The report said Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae spent $249,632 of school funding on a trip for 251 students, staff, and caregivers to Rarotonga.

"The purpose of this trip was to achieve educational outcomes connected with the founding principles of 'Te Aho Matua,'" the report said.

Another kura, Tamaki Nui A Rua, funded a trip to Rarotonga in 2015 for 27 students, four staff, and four parents, the report said.

"The kura spent $56,246 but collected only $13,294 from those who went on the trip."

Manurewa West School paid for five staff to visit Kuala Lumpur, as part of a trip to tour schools in Singapore.

"We consider it unusual for schools to fund trips of this nature," the report said.

"We are pleased to see that the [Education] Ministry has re-instated its guidance to schools about the need to specifically fundraise for overseas travel for students," the report said.

The report also named three schools that spent "relatively high" amounts on gifts for departing principals.

Blockhouse Bay Intermediate spent $7000 for a farewell party and $3000 on a leaving gift for the principal, Kingsford School gave vouchers to the value of $10,000 to the principal as a leaving gift, and Puhinui School gave the departing principal a $8500 ride-on mower when he left the school.

"Spending on farewells and retirements should be both moderate and conservative, and suitable for the occasion," the Office of the Auditor General said.

Photo: Fiji Red Cross Blockhouse Bay raised $3700 for Fiji flood victims but then kept the money, an auditor-general's report found