Thursday, May 28, 2015


Another day of new stories about the impacts of government cut-backs on the province's education system.

A memo leaked to the official opposition yesterday created quite a flap when it was revealed that NL English School Board  told administrators that any extra admin time for secretaries would have to come out of individual school generated  funds. To be clear, the memo insisted that operational money provided by the board could not be used.

The memo indicated that the board was taped out and could not spend any money outside the established 10-month employment term already agreed to. The memo cited extra expenses this year related to maternity and other leaves. Administrators were given clear instructions on how to deposit the money and a deadline to ensure summer lay-off notices included accurate end of work dates.

Schools are not businesses. They do on occasion receive funds for school rentals, All fundraising activities at schools are supposed to be run through the school council for approval. It is a grey area because often schools are given donations by individuals, companies and community groups. That money is supposed to go to funding opportunities and the educational needs of students.

Some principals tell me it is not unusual for administrators to need a little extra secretarial time. Sometimes there is some slippage, other times "arrangements" are made. 

I thought the e-mail and subsequent spin and backpedaling was disturbing. I'm really disappointed that the board would think for a minute that it's OK and demand that any extra administrative costs should come from money raised for activities in the school or for the schoo Any money that the school would have generated, whether it be funds for school activities through fundraising by school councils or through rentals, is money that would have been earmarked for activities for schools, for infrastructure in the schools, things that kids need. 

Another story that the Auditor General and the media are sure to be looking into  is how schools generate revenue and how that money is accounted for. 

The confusion in the House of Assembly and in media interviews has sewn lots of confusion and may have opened up an unfortunate can of worms.

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