The New Zealand Education Ministry’s Probe dissolves Al-Madinah’s board after complaints of financial mismanagement and staff problems. Little do they realise, education defeats Islamic ideology!
An Auckland school’s board of trustees has been dissolved following allegations of fund mismanagement and employment problems.
Al-Madinah, a state-integrated Muslim area school in the south Auckland suburb of Māngere, has also come under fire for issues with recruiting staff.
It is understood the principal, Asin Ali, hired family members to work at the school, which has a maximum roll of 550 pupils and more than 30 staff members.
Parents and caregivers of Al-Madinah pupils were told in a newsletter the Ministry of Education had dissolved the school’s board of trustees on April 10.
In the board’s place, Bruce Adin had been appointed as the school’s commissioner effective immediately.
Adin was a school principal for 28 years and was previously the Auckland regional manager for the Ministry of Education.
In the newsletter, Adin said he had “all the powers, functions and responsibilities of a board of trustees”.
“In effect, a Commissioner replaces the board of trustees,” Adin said.
According to the Ministry of Education, a commissioner works closely with the principal, advises and consults with the school community, and regularly reports progress to the ministry’s local office.
Katrina Casey, the ministry’s deputy secretary for the enablement and support sector, said Adin would not be involved in the day-to-day management of the school.
Instead he would be assessing board financial management, employment, and ensuring the school’s health an safety responsibilities were met, Casey said.
He would also be ensuring the school could eventually return to self-governance as soon as it was appropriate, she said.
The ministry had been supporting Al-Madinah School for just over two years after receiving several complaints about employment issues, financial mismanagement and issues with recruitment of staff, Casey said.
A small number of schools developed “difficulties or have unanticipated events that they cannot resolve without outside help”, she said.
“We always support schools to resolve problems themselves and only intervene as a last resort when there is risk present at the school that cannot be addressed in any other way.
“Where we do step in, an intervention aims to bring expertise and a fresh perspective.”
The ministry would continue to work with Al-Madinah School to address its problems and ensure students were supported, she said.
AL-MADINAH’S PAST PROBLEMS
In 2016, the auditor-general found potential conflicts of interest where three board members were tied to the school’s private proprietor.
The Ministry of Education appointed a limited statutory manager for the school’s board in May 2016.
The results of school audits in 2017 found there had previously been raised concerns over the school’s financial management and compliance, including party-related transactions, conflicts of interests and the school’s fundraising practices.
In June 2018 the Ministry of Education asked a specialist to perform a forensic investigation of the school’s finances. This was prompted by concerns raised during the audit of the school’s annual financial statements.