The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 1889 EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES.
Some weeks ago Mr Alfred Satinders moved for a return showing the total amount of money expended during the last three years by each of the Boards of Education m the colony m travelling I expenses, the amount paid to each member, the distance he had to travel to each meeting, and the number of meetings he attended. The object for which the re turn was asked was not stated, but if it was expected or intended to hold up the Board of which Mr Saunders is a member as an example of economy as a body and self denial on the part of its members it mist have proved extremely disappointing. In fact if Mr Saunders had desired to show his Board and himself a« examples to be avoided he could not have done so more effectively than by the production of this return. Until about a I year ago the Board's regular meetings were held fortnightly, and subsequently the meetings have been held at intervals of three weeks. There were thus about seventy regular meetings during the three years embraced by the return, yet Mr Saunders appears to have attended the extraordinary number of 229 meet ings, or more than a meeting a week m addition to the regular meetings of the Board, and m respect of this attendance he has drawn from the Board as expenses the substantial sum of £171 15s. Mr Saunders' colleagues, the other country members of the Board, have not anything like the attendance record of that gentle man, but figure very substantially on the pay sheet, Mr Anson for 98 meeting > drawing £108 (he having to travel 25 miles to tbe place of meeting as against Mr Saunders' 15 miles) ; Mr Perjman received £81, and Mr Cunningham £66. 1 hese four members of the Board therefore cost the large snm of £426 m the three years an amount^rwhich exceeds the whole amioiii. t paid foi^ravelling expeuses by any other Board m this Island. Whether the services these members render are equivalent to the expenses they receive is a question worth consideration by the School Committees when the time for election comes round again. It is well that the country districts should have representation on the Board, but it seems to us that the education department is being made to some extent a milch cow by certain members. The North Canterbury Board is not singular m respect of these pajments, The Otago Board paid £426, of which one member, travelling 160 miles, drew £133 for 79 meetings ; 1 and Nelson paid £316. The figures as telegraphed state the Wanganui Board's payments at £446, but that this is i erroneous is shown by the brief remark on the return that a greater sum has been paid m North Canterbury than by the whole of the Boards m the North Island. Taranaki with characteristic extravagance heads, the North Island list with payments of £226. Wellington's £89 was all paid to one member, who had 52 miles to travel. Auckland paid only £84; and Hawke's Bay £23. It cannot be said that the circumstances of Canterbury, Otago and Nelson are so different from those of Auckland as to justify a twentyfold greater expenditure by the South Island Boards. Now that public attention has been called to the facts we hope steps may be taken to remedy what appears on the face of it to be nothing short of an abuse.