A Ministry of Education report into the finances of the Merl Grove High School in St. Andrew, was critical of the principal’s management of the school’s staffing and payment of salaries.

The report alleges that as the chief accounting officer of the institution, the principal, on multiple occasions hired staff without requisite board or Ministry approval.

It also found that there was no indication given for the Canteen-Facility Manager’s qualifications nor his effectiveness in the position.

Nora Gaye Banton tells us more.

Merl Grove’s motto, Labor Omnia Vincit is a Latin phrase meaning Work Conquers All.

However the Ministry of Education report into the institution questioned the effectiveness of the institution’s labour practices.

The report says payments made to ancillary staff as incentive, showed no approval from the Board, with the principal consistently writing directives to the bursar on scrappy pieces of paper and not formally by a memo.

It was also found that at the time the bursar was paying an acting vice principal salary to a teacher, however documentation does not show that the acting position was ratified by the Board.

In addition, there are payments made to part-time and full time teachers for which there is no approval from the Ministry.

The Ministry of Education report says this has created a short fall in the amounts the school receives from the Ministry for payment of salaries.

The effect of this led to unauthorized or improper payments being made along with late and or non-payment of staff personal deductions and correct taxes taken from staff salary, which may incur interest and other repercussions.

On the matter of staffing as well, it was noted that non-ministry staff were seen on the payroll, however there was no contract in place from the Board for the hiring of these persons.

In addition the auditors noted that it could not access their files locked in the principal’s office.

Neither could the bursary verify the qualification and or technical competence of these persons.

However, the facility manager’s job description was seen with a salary of $120,000 plus a $30,000 travelling allowance.

Based on his Job description among other things he was in charge of general operations of the canteen-tuck shop but there was no indication of his effectiveness with the auditors unable to identify inventory management or a daily sales book.