Appendix 1: Questions for school boards

Results of the 2018 school audits.

We set out some questions for school boards to consider. The board may wish to ask the Principal to provide them with assurance on these matters.

Publication of annual reports

  • Are your school’s 2017 and 2018 annual reports published online?
  • Do you let your school community know the annual report is available?

School payroll

  • Are you reviewing your school’s payroll reports regularly to ensure that all payroll payments are valid and consistent with expectations?
  • Do you review all payroll costs as part of the financial information provided at monthly board meetings? If so, does your review include consideration of the school’s banking staffing balance and salaries funded directly by the school?

Cyclical maintenance

  • Do you have a reasonable idea of the costs of significant future maintenance, such as painting the exterior of the school, and when this will need to be done?
  • If you do have maintenance plans in place, do you review them regularly to ensure that they are still valid and that the estimated costs are still reasonable?
  • Do you have plans in place for how to fund those costs when the painting is required?

Credit and fuel cards

  • Do you have controls in place so all expenditure on school credit cards or fuel cards is approved by someone other than the person who used the card? If so, does this follow the one-up principle (for example, the board chairperson should approve the Principal’s credit or fuel card)?
  • Are appropriate supporting documents and explanations provided, such as receipts or records of mileage, so the approver can ensure that the spending is appropriate and for school purposes?

Overseas travel

  • Do you have a policy for overseas travel? If so, does this include how to deal with requests for personal travel, such as where an employee wants to add a vacation onto the trip or take a family member with them?
  • Do you receive a formal proposal to approve all overseas travel, setting out details of the travel, including the educational outcomes, the budget, and how the trip will be funded?
  • Do you receive a report on the outcomes achieved from the overseas travel after the trip and a detailed breakdown of costs against budget? If so, does this include explanations for any costs over budget and how these will be funded?


  • Does the board approve all new lease agreements? If so, is an analysis done to compare the costs of leasing and buying the equipment?
  • Has your school considered using the all-of-government contracts?


  • Does the board approve the school’s budget before the start of each new school year?
  • Does your school’s budget include a budgeted balance sheet and a cash flow budget?
  • Does the board receive regular reports of actual costs against budget and explanations for any variances?