Church gets pinged in audit by the ministry

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Queenstown’s City Impact Church has been pinged for overclaiming a small amount of Government education funding. 

An Ministry of Education audit of attendance and enrolment registers in April 2011 reveals City Impact’s early childhood education centre overclaimed 86 hours’ funding in four months. The centre was made to repay $577.62. 

“Still well below [the Ministry’s] threshold of what they get worried about,” City Impact centre manager Shaun Vining says, and there’s been no other repayments. 

“If the Ministry had an issue with us, we’d be audited all the time,” he adds. 

The discrepancies came to light following a Mountain Scene Official Information request. 

While the auditor said “attendance records were generally well-kept”, City Impact was also picked up for wrongly claiming funding for an absent pupil. 

An earlier audit the previous year criticised poor record-keeping, saying there were gaps in when pupils were enrolled and when they left. Staff hours were also not recorded properly. 

Vining mainly blames a wonky computer system, now upgraded. 

“The discrepancies in this [audit] have all been negated now,” he says, adding the Ministry has also come up with better methodology. 

Often transient Wakatipu families can make keeping records on his 50 pupils difficult, Vining says. 

“That definitely has a part to do with it, especially on that [audit] you’re looking at, it was to do with people being away for a long period and then coming back.” 

The new computer system automatically stops funding claims during absences. 

“There’s always going to be something that creeps up because of the amount of chopping and changing that happens, especially in Queenstown – there’s always going to be some discrepancies,” Vining says. 

Asked how much Government funding his centre gets, Vining says he’ll have to talk to his boss first – Aucklander Mark Mortlock, son of City Impact Church founder and senior pastor Peter Mortlock. 

Vining later emails: “I’ve been advised we’ll not be divulging [Ministry of Education] funding.” 

City Impact Church financials for 2009 show $766,000 listed as “Government grants/contracts” – however, it’s not known whether this is education funding.