Langley school district offices

Langley school trustees have ‘trust’ issues, report reveals

While a “trust issue” remains, Langley school trustees are working together better than they used to, according to the school districts’ latest report released this week by the provincial Auditor General.

And while the board of education still refuses to plan more than three years ahead, it maintains it has “partially implemented” the five-year planning called for by the Auditor General.

The auditor ordered nine fixes to repair “significant internal control weaknesses” in Langley School District finances after the discovery of a $13.5 million budget deficit in 2009.

An investigation by the auditor general’s office found the board of trustees was “not functioning well” and wasn’t receiving “sufficient, appropriate and regular information, particularly financial information” from staff.

The report also found “significant internal control weakness” in budgeting, accounting, reporting payroll and purchasing practices coupled with a lack of long-range panning.

In its latest report to the provincial authority, the school district maintains all of the nine fixes demanded by the auditor have been fully or partially implemented.

“While the board is pleased with the progress to date, we recognize that there is more to be done and are committed to continuing to work towards full implementation” the board adds.

The board says it has “fully or substantially implemented” measures to improve the way trustees work together, while at the same time admitting the “perception of a lack of trust among trustees” has not been “completely resolved.”

After holding a number of meetings to deal with the matter, trustees now have “a greater understanding of issues that exist among them and there has been a demonstrated willingness to move forward with that understanding,” the Board report states.

Trustees have “started a team-building process based on recognizing each other’s strengths and contributions …” the report goes on to say.

As for the Auditor General’s demand that the Langley school district “move to a longer-term period of at least five years for strategic planning” the board says that goal has been “partially implemented even though the board has refused to change its long-standing practice of three-year plans.

“There has been a focus on the longer term, particularly in areas of succession planning and facilities,” the board statement insists.

Other fixes, such as getting trustees to develop a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities, establishing tighter internal financial controls and requiring regular financial updates by staff have been “fully or substantially implemented” the board said.

The Auditor General published the Langley board of education’s self-assessment in it’s just-released spring follow-up report.

The report notes that all of the information was provided by the school board and has not been reviewed by the watchdog.

Last month, the Langley School District announced it has paid off its deficit, two years ahead of schedule.

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