Johannesburg, 09 October 2017 - As the 2018 budgeting process for public schools get into full swing in preparation for submission to the department of education (DoE) by 01 December 2017, The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) urges parents to get involved in the budgeting process of their schools to ensure that proper processes are followed when preparing budgets and that the budgets support the school vision, mission and improvement plans.
The South African Schools Act (SASA) requires that public schools must prepare a budget each year according to prescriptions determined by the Member of the Executive Council in a Provincial Gazette, which shows the estimated income and expenditure of the school for the following financial year.
“These budgets must be approved by the majority of parents at an annual general meeting and are required to be made available for inspection at the schools at least 14 days prior to the meeting,” says Julius Mojapelo, SAICA Senior Executive: Public Sector. “The budget process take place between September and November and culminates in the submission of the budget to the provincial departments of education on 01 December each year.”
“Parents who serve on School Governing Bodies (SGBs) have a bigger role to play and should ensure that the processes followed and principles applied in preparing the budgets comply with budgeting guidelines issued by their provincial DoE, which include the following:
- The school budget must be based on a well-articulated and documented school improvement plan and support the school’s vision and mission.
- Schools are generally not allowed to budget for a surplus or deficit.
- Schools are prohibited by Section 38A of the SASA from making a payment, other than travel and subsistence for official school activities, to state employees without prior approval from their respective DoE. The application for approval must be made at least four months prior to the finalisation of the school’s budget. Therefore, proof of approval by the department of education must accompany all additional remuneration paid to the principals, teachers and admin staff employed by the state.
- Rates for travel and subsistence are based on an approved travel policy that prescribed maximum rates per kilometre for travel and circumstance and rates to be used for subsistence expenses.
- Cost estimates are reasonable and comparable to prevailing prices in the market.
At the annual general meeting parents should ask the right questions to ensure that they are satisfied that the correct assumptions and rationale were applied when preparing the budget before they give their approval,” adds Mojapelo.
The following are some of the questions that parents can ask at the meeting:
- How much of the budgeted income for the previous year was actually collected and whether the budgeted income has been adjusted to take into account the collection rate?
- Why the budgeted spending on textbooks has stayed the same where the curriculum has not changed?
- Why there is no budget for repairs and maintenance where this is necessary given the state of school equipment and infrastructure?
Approved budgets are required to be submitted to the DoE to be used as a base for determining resource allocations for schools.
SAICA has, in partnership with the provincial DoE, launched a project where its members serve as volunteers to support SGBs of public schools to enable them to manage school funds within a financially sound, efficient and effective financial management and governance system in compliance with the South African Schools Act and the applicable provincial legislative. The members also mentor the SGBs to perform above the minimum requirements in respect of management and utilisation of available resources to improve the delivery of education in schools. The SAICA SGB Support project is currently being rolled out in Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal with plans to roll it out to other provinces in the near future.
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 42 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], as well as AGAs(SA) and ATs(SA), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.
SAICA Media Contact:
Communication Coordinator: Corporate
SAICA Brand Division
011 479 0698
Subject Matter Specialist:
Senior Executive: Public Sector
Tel: 011 621 6738