Following several agitations and allegations by school managements over not receiving the salary grants sanctioned by the education department, the state government has appointed a five-member committee to probe the matter. The committee is expected to find out why amounts sanctioned towards salary grants were not disbursed despite receiving proposal by the managements in this regard
A government resolution dated June 24, issued by the school education and sports department, says: “It was found that funds sanctioned towards salary grants for schools before February 2012, academic year 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 remained unspent. The pending salary grant issue led to negative reports in media and queries about the same were raised by legislators in legislative assembly. Hence in order to investigate the issue of pending salary grant, the state government has formed a five member committee.”
Schools have welcomed the move. They have been alleging that the department and education officers were “unnecessarily” delaying the procedure. “It has been around 10 years now since the department has disbursed the salary grants for schools. The state government has been sanctioning the amount, but the managements have been paying salaries of their staff from their own pockets,” said Prashant Redij, principal of Hilda Castellina school in Kandivali.
Every year, school managements have to submit a proposal of their expenditure to the education department. Prior to February 2012, the department used to sanction 12 per cent of the expenditure to the schools in the form of salary grant. From the academic year 2012-13, the salary grant was reduced to 5 per cent — 4 per cent towards payment of salary and 1 per cent towards the rent of the school building.
Many schools complained of not receiving grants even then. “Even though we submitted proposals on time, they started raising queries and delaying the process. We need salary grant all the more now with implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act,” said Redij.
The five-member committee will be headed by the state’s education commissioner. The committee is expected to find out that despite submitting proposals on time why the proposals were not approved by the education officer or the deputy director of school education concerned. The committee is expected to investigate the matter and submit its report in a month.
“We had been receiving complaints and representations from various school managements, unions and associations about about non-payment of salary grants for the last one-and-a-half year. Initially, we did not take any step thinking schools must have failed to submit proposals pertaining to grant on time leading to delay in disbursement of funds. However, managements started furnishing proofs of proposals submitted on time. Meanwhile, the amount to be disbursed for salary grant too was sanctioned by the state but schools did not receive. To find out why the amount was not disbursed and why it remained unspent, a committee has been formed. We will decide on the next course of action following the report,” said a senior official of the school education department.