Lo­cal de­tails on P3 fund­ing won’t be avail­able un­til Mon­day

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM AY­ERS CAPE BRE­TON POST tay­ers@cb­post.com

SYD­NEY— De­tails about a short­fall in fund­ing from the man­age­ment com­pany of pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship (P3) schools in the Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria Re­gional School Board will have to wait un­til Mon­day.

Nova Sco­tia au­di­tor gen­eral Jac­ques La­pointe is­sued a re­port Wed­nes­day iden­ti­fy­ing what he called “sig­nif­i­cant weak­nesses” in con­tract pay­ments be­tween the prov­ince, P3 man­agers and school boards, as well as con­trac­tual con­cerns in­volv­ing some staff at some P3 schools over a lack of child abuse and crim­i­nal record checks, first-aid train­ing and fire safety in­spec­tions.

De­spite the fact the Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria re­gional board of­fi­cially re­sponded to the au­di­tor gen­eral for the re­port, supter­in­ten- dent Ed Davis could not an­swer any ques­tions Thurs­day on the is­sues raised.

“I don’t know. I can’t re­spond to it,” Davis said, re­fer­ring ques­tions to other staff.

The Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria board has six P3 schools in its re­gion.

The au­di­tor gen­eral’s re­port says the Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria board failed to claim $403,000 from the P3 man­ager, an amount that was even­tu­ally col­lected. How­ever, La­pointe added, the board in­curred a $21,000 deficit as a re­sult of the short­fall, which es­sen­tially dou­bled the deficit cost be­cause the de­vel­oper had been paid by the prov­ince, but school boards are re­quired to pay for deficits out of ex­ist­ing pro­gram funds.

The au­di­tor gen­eral rec­om­mended the board en­sure it col­lects all money due un­der its con- tracts, and also sug­gested the board con­sider col­lect­ing in­ter­est on the un­paid amount. The board’s of­fi­cial re­sponse agreed with the rec­om­men­da­tion and in­di­cated se­nior staff would be asked to look at the is­sue of in­ter­est.

Davis couldn’t say whether staff ever con­sid­ered seek­ing in­ter­est, and said fi­nance di­rec­tor Ge­orge Boudreau was un­avail­able this week, but would be back in the of­fice Mon­day

Board chair­man Lorne Green did not re­turn phone calls Thurs­day.

Beth MacIsaac, the Cape Bre­ton-Vic­to­ria board’s hu­man re­sources di­rec­tor, said the au­di­tor gen­eral’s con­cerns about some P3 schools lack­ing crim­i­nal record and child abuse reg­istry checks, as well as a lack of fire safety and firstaid train­ing, did not ap­ply to the lo­cal board.

“The in­di­vid­u­als who work in our schools are all school board em­ploy­ees so they come un­der our poli­cies,” she said, adding that all em­ploy­ees have been sub­ject to crim­i­nal record and child abuse reg­istry checks.

The Strait Re­gional School Board, with seven P3 schools — five of which are in Cape Bre­ton — un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion, also came un­der the au­di­tor gen­eral’s mi­cro­scope.

The au­di­tor gen­eral’s re­port says the Strait re­gion failed to claim $864,000 un­der its P3 man­age­ment sub­con­tract, but supter­in­ten­dent Jack Beaton said the amount was only $220,000, which has since been col­lected.

He also said all em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing those at P3 schools, fall un­der the board’s poli­cies for crim­i­nal record and child abuse reg­istry checks.

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