As ECE and state schools grapple with under-funding , charter schools seem awash with cash. Their trusts are accumulating millions in assets and admin payments are through the roof.

Charter schools had an average roll of 112 at the start of 2016. Six of the eight schools were operating below their funded Guaranteed Minimum Roll for 2016 (Bill Courtney, Save Our Schools). For 2015, the two Middle Schools run by the Villa Education Trust met just three of their 12 student achievement targets. Last term, ACT leader David Seymour announced two new charter schools will open at the start of 2017. A new publicly funded entity will be set up to oversee the schools.

Vanguard Military School* • $27,425 spent on a Holden SUV • $222,261 on management salaries • $33,000 on advisory board fees • The school is owned by a private company and made a net profit after tax of $83,330

Te Kura Hourua ki Whangarei & Te Kura Teina • Surplus of $265,658 in 2015 and $1,149,339 in 2014. Trust’s net assets $3,317,022 • Cash in the bank of $985,619 plus $1,114,144 held as “related parties receivables”. $83,984 earned in interest • $420,372 as “corporate cost” in 2015

South Auckland Middle School • $403,906 on administration in 2015, including $140,000 on management fees, $156,909 on admin salaries, and $27,809 on vehicle costs • $142,230 on sports consumables, $909 on science consumables, $24,699 on class excursions, uniforms $36,017 • Surplus of $15,984, net

Middle School West Auckland • N et assets of $917,293 • $686,218 on administration – including $240,016 on management fees and $250,798 on admin salaries • Uniforms $51,482, classroom resources and supplies $11,528

Pacific Advance • Catering $90,738, advertising and communications $75,233. Surplus $171,801

Rise UP Academy • Accumulated net assets of $529, 625. $353,492 held as cash or investments • $52,687 spent on “payments to purchase investments” • $88,333 from Lottery Grants, $25,500 from Todd Foundation

Te Puamanawa o te Wairua • Agreement terminated through nonperformance in March 2016. In the last available report, for 2014, its trust had accumulated assets of $1.5m. Unclear whether the money, and later payments, can be recovered

Waatea ECE & Te Kura Māori o Waatea • An ECE building grant of $1,129,100 contributed to a net profit for 2015 of $1,176,857 • $430,904 spent on administration • Car lease liabilities $66,091

*All figures from 2015 financial statements on the Ministry of Education website

Photo: New Zealand Money, Stu, Flickr. / Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0