Figures released by the Government last month show that four Salford schools built up deficits of over £3million between them in the year 2008 to 2009.
New PFI school, Harrop Fold led the way with a deficit which stood at £1,591,254, while the old Hope High School (now Oasis Academy) lost £1,046,649. Buile Hill High lost £625,000, and Wentworth lost £659,066.
Rather than trying to sort out the financial mess internally, Salford Council has brought in HCSS Education Ltd "to provide consultancy services in relation to school deficit recovery" at a cost "that will not be in excess of £30,000"…
This comes on top of £140,000 currently being spent on outside `advisers' or consultants to sort out the Building Schools for the Future programme that went wonky following the Schools Adjudicator's decision not to close St Georges RC High School.
Salford people might like to ask…
1. Why £170,000 is being spent on outside consultants when Salford Council has a huge Children's Services staff whose job it is to monitor budgets and building programmes.
2. Why these schools were allowed to build up such massive deficits in the first place.
3. The affect of wiping out these deficits on the budgets of other schools in the city. For instance, the Hope High deficit had to be wiped clean before the school could be handed over to be privatised as Oasis Academy MediaCityUK.
4. Why St George's, which is an extremely well run school that carried over a surplus of over £43,000, was earmarked for closure.
And Salford pupils themselves - who should be congratulated on getting the best ever exam results for the city - might like to ask whether those running their schools are actually qualified for the job.
Meanwhile, Salford Council's incompetence is turning the city into a magnet for expensive advisers and consultants…
Graphic by Jamie Reid