Financial investigation of failed school chain
A probe into the finances of the owners of the Canadian Overseas International College was under way after its three branches closed on Friday, the Education Department said yesterday.
College principal Mary Farrell and vice-principal Derek Roberts yesterday urged the department to look into the financial management of the Educan Scholastic Foundation Ltd, which owned the schools. A total of 381 pupils were affected when the branches closed.
Mr Roberts told the South China Morning Post yesterday that Jonathan Goodman, a college supervisor, revealed during a meeting with teachers on Sunday that $12 million in tuition fees had been collected this term.
'The department should launch an investigation into where the tuition fees collected for this semester have gone and why the parents have not been refunded,' Mr Roberts said.
'Mr Goodman said the money was used to pay off the college's old debts in the last school year and the rent for the three campuses.'
Mr Goodman said he was a director of the company but was not an investor or owner and that he held no shares in the college or the company.
Mr Roberts said he had learned that the rent for the campuses had not been paid for the past three months. The college also owed $1.2 million for this month's salary for its 36 teachers and 25 administrative staff.
An Education Department spokesman said it had launched an investigation.