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Coquitlam audit blames poor accounting, budgeting for school deficit

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Accounting errors and too much hiring were partly to blame for a Coquitlam school district shortfall that eliminated 80 teaching positions, according to a forensic audit.

The report from KPMG identified 14 recommendations to “increase budgetary control,” which the school board has now accepted.

Coquitlam Teachers Association president Charley King said on Wednesday there’s still uncertainty as to what would happen in the current fiscal year after last summer’s $8-million shortfall.

King said the 80 positions that were cut actually resulted in about 500 layoffs — although many of those teachers have now returned, albeit now serving in different positions.

“They engaged an auditor, they got the recommendations and now they’re implementing it,” he said. “One of the (concerns) obvious for our members is how’s that going to look for teachers, how’s that going to look for programs in the district next year, how’s that going to look for students?”

The audit did not find any deliberate misconduct of employees.

A lawyer retained by the board summarized the deficit’s reasons as historical accounting errors, changing accounting practices, inaccurate budgets, not carrying extra contingency, and failing to put budget reductions in place.




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