$2 million for tea money.
Impotent DET auditors From today’s Age
Education Department senior auditor Neil Loveless said the 2010 review into so-called "banker" schools that distributed funds to other schools recommended the funding system be replaced immediately. In one instance $3 million was transferred into one school's "tea money" account, Mr Loveless said. "It was not an appropriate place to put the money," he said. "Once it hit the schools it was just lost to us in terms of what was going on." Mr Loveless told the hearing he also conducted a separate review of former department deputy secretary Darrell Fraser's corporate credit card. At one point Mr Fraser was allegedly spending $12,000 a month on some expenses that were "dubious", Mr Loveless said. "There was a lot of socialising, a lot of meals, a lot of alcohol." He said one of Mr Fraser's "subordinates" would use his corporate credit card and Mr Fraser would then sign off on the expenses. A review of former acting secretary Jeff Rosewarne's credit card use also found he had used his work card to buy jewellery that he then had to repay.
Mr Loveless said if school principals and business managers wanted to collude to hide their financial practices from him they had been able to do so. "The culture and the system that was in place was all against us," he said. Mr Loveless said there was also "chaos" in the international travel programs for school staff. He said it was unclear how schools benefited from all the overseas travel by staff. (Yikes! That could be an interesting path for the inquiry to take?) Mr Loveless said online resources were available to schools to examine the success of high-performing countries such as Finland. "The first thing a lot of our principals want to do is jump on a plane and go to Helsinki."