School's out for city's 300 missing teachers
Updated: 2011-02-18 07:14
Officials admit pay was wrong, pledge correction
BEIJING - More than 300 teachers at public schools in a city in Central China have been missing from the classroom for the past two years but have still been claiming their government paychecks, according to an article from Xinhua News Agency.
The revelation, which was first reported by a local newspaper in Yongzhou city in Central China's Hunan province, raised concern that millions of yuan had been embezzled from public funds, the reports said.
On Thursday, government employees in the city, who declined to give their names, told China Daily that their superiors were not available for comment.
Some teachers from public-funded primary and high schools in Yongzhou city were understood to have left their jobs but were still being paid, Xinhua reported on Wednesday, quoting Zhou Jinguo, a senior official with the city's education bureau.
The teachers could have been earning income elsewhere but were retained by the schools to support further studies or were on long-term leave, Zhou claimed.
The official admitted that such arrangements violated the rules and said the teachers involved and the schools as well as the bureau should take responsibility.
In the city's Lingling district, a total of 87 teachers had been found to be claiming paychecks but were not in the classroom in October 2010, according to the discipline inspection authorities of the district.
The related public fund disseminated salaries that totaled about 1 million yuan ($151,500), the commission added.
By September 2010, the number of such teachers in Ningyuan county was 121, said Liu Guosheng, head of the county's education bureau.
Liu said that not all teachers who had left schools were still being paid and noted that the amount of money involved was not yet available.
In the city's Dong'an county, a total of 152 teachers had been found to be getting paychecks without working as of November 2010, said Yu Deman, deputy head of the county's education bureau.
Part of the funds had been deposited in the schools' accounts after the teachers had left their posts, said Yang Suguo, a discipline official in Lingling district. He added that the flow of the funds could be tracked.
In Ningyuan county, the funds were deposited directly into teachers' bank accounts, said Liu.
Yu told Xinhua that the Dong'an county education bureau held the funds that were wrongly sent to teachers who had left but said it had not used the money.
A teacher in Yongzhou city, who did not want to be named, said it was possible that the money had been misused or embezzled because of a lack of transparency in the schools' finances.
The city's education bureau claimed it had started to retrieve the misappropriated public money.
Lingling district said it had recovered about 560,000 yuan of the missing money.
Those involved will be punished if they are found guilty of a crime, said local authorities in Yongzhou city.
(China Daily 02/18/2011 page4)
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