Naughty goings-on at a preschool child centre – and it wasn’t the kids who had sticky fingers

Gotta say the lofty language used to described the offences committed by the licensee of a preschool childcare centre is somewhat opaque.

This woman apparently overstated funding claims, resulting in overpayment by the Ministry of Education.

As a consequence she is facing restrictions on her ability to undertake school managerial positions.

But what was her crime?

According to the report at Stuff –

A decision from the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal said the woman was convicted in the district court in June 2012 on three related charges of taking, obtaining, or using a document for pecuniary advantage.

She admitted the charges and was sentenced to 127 hours community work. Her name and the name of the centre were deleted from the tribunal’s published decision.

So she fiddled the books?

Ripped off the taxpayer?

What’s wrong with simple language that can be understood by a hard-working politician without his having to reach for a dictionary or set of law books?

But let’s go on.

The police summary of facts said ministry auditors found funding claims for the period from June 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010 were overstated, resulting in overpayments by the ministry of nearly $26,000.

A further audit was carried out of child and staff attendance records for the period from February 1, 2010 to May 31, 2010. An auditor found examples where children were recorded as being at the centre when they had not been there.

For the months of February, March and May 2010, 38 daily attendance records were found to have false information about children attending the centre.

The licensee had used the false records to avoid the ministry seeking the repayment of funding, and to allow the centre to continue to get funding, the summary said.

Ah.

Fiddling the books it is, then.

Ten monthly attendance registers during the months from September 2009 to July 2010 were also shown to have false information about child attendance.

Staff attendance records showed the woman as working at the centre on 11 occasions between February and May 2010, when she was overseas.

The false records provided to the auditor represented more than $6500 in funding claimed from the ministry to which the centre was not entitled.

This was very naughty behaviour.

The woman seems to have ignored lessons plainly set out in her Bible (although Alf acknowledges he is making a big assumption at this juncture).

He makes the assumption because…

In an affidavit to the tribunal, the woman spoke about her religious convictions and the process she had tried to go through to put the matter behind her. That included the repayment of the financial benefit she personally received from the fraud.

The Eighth Commandment is very clear on this matter: thou shalt not steal.

But that’s not the only commandment which addresses the matter of theft, as you will learn here.

While the Eighth Commandment specifically prohibits stealing, all of the last 6 Commandments are based on not stealing – not stealing the honor away from parents (the Fifth Commandment), not stealing someone’s life from them (the Sixth Commandment), not stealing someone’s spouse (the Seventh Commandment), not stealing the truth from someone (the Ninth Commandment) and not planning to steal a possession from someone (the Tenth Commandment).

Mind you, the woman’s religion was not stated and might have been Islam.

But Islam takes a serious view of stealing, too, and in some countries the authorities would be lopping off her left hand for her crimes.

The tribunal’s decision says she spoke about her passion for teaching and how eventually she hoped to return to the profession.

It made an order that for five years the woman can not hold a position with managerial responsibility that required registration and a practising certificate as a teacher, until she had undertaken courses on school leadership.

She also had to satisfy officials she had gained a satisfactory level of understanding to enable her to embark on a managerial position in a school.

Alf hopes some good old-fashioned Biblical instruction is incorporated in those studies, although he fears that in these liberal times the Bible does not rank too large in educational considerations.

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