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Bluebells school misused funds, has Rs 2.5cr surplus: Delhi govt
The Times of India, December 06, 2018

NEW DELHI: Bluebells School International, East of Kailash, has asked its parents to provisionally pay “hiked fees” since its financial situation is precarious and could lead to closure. However, reacting to the circular issued by the school on November 28, 2018, the directorate of education (DoE) has claimed that it has surplus funds of over Rs 2.5 crore. The DoE had ordered a rollback of the hike in fee, accusing the school of “misuse of funds”.

The school says it was denied an opportunity to convey its stand and that it had increased the fee to meet the salary burden of the Seventh Pay Commission. It has moved court against the order.

In an order sent to the school in August 2018,the DoE said: “The total funds available for the year 2017-18 amounts to Rs 20,16,52361 out of which cash outflow in the year 2017-18 is estimated to be Rs 17,61,95435.

This results in surplus funds amounting to Rs 2,54,56,926. In view of the examination, it is evident that the school is having sufficient funds to meet the financial implications for financial year 2017-18 after meeting its expenditure.” ..

DoE audited the school’s finances after some parents complained to the deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio.

The DoE has also accused the school of misusing the development fund collected from the students. The order says that under a provision in the Delhi School Education Rules of 1973 (DSER), “schools can charge development fee not exceeding 15% of the tuition fee for purchase, upgradation (and) replacement of furniture fixture and equipment.” The order raised red flags on the purchase of desks and chairs and on the transport fee collected from students.

“The school is collecting transport fee from the students but (it’s) not shown in the financial statements of the school till 2015-16,” said the order. The government has also questioned the amount spent by the school on computers. “The expenditure on purchase of computers in 2016-17 was Rs 28.73 lakh, in 2017-18 it was Rs 50 lakh and the proposed expenditure for 2018-19 is Rs 10 lakh. A computer is a capital asset and lasts for many years. So much expenditure incurred every year (does) not appear to be correct,” said the order.

“All the observations in the order are one-sided,” protested principal Suman Kumar. “No opportunity was given by the DoE to the school to clarify its stand…For example, the fact that today computers are central to education and need rapid upgradation has been ignored. Phased purchase by the school against a strength of about 1,900 students has been perceived as misutilisation. The stock can be verified. The buffer of Rs 2.5 crore worked out by the DoE is based on erroneous omission of accounting fact on record.”

“Similarly with regard to the transport fee, a separate account was maintained…as per the guidelines of the DoE issued in the past. There has been no misutilisation of the development fee,” the principal added.

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