COA urges Tarlac to maximize use of budget for school buildings, facilities
by Allan Yves Briones
Despite the provincial government of Tarlac posting a 68.35 percent utilization rate of the Special Education Fund (SEF), the Commission on Audit (COA) urged local officials to maximize the budget by constructing more school buildings and facilities.
State auditors found that in 2018, Tarlac spent P71.76 million of the SEF, greatly increased from the previous year’s utilization of P16.44 million.
However, COA noted that more can still be done, quoting a former OIC-School Division Superintendent.
“[T]here is a need to construct 186 classrooms to comfortably accommodate a large population of elementary pupils of public schools in the Province of Tarlac,” the 2018 annual audit report stated.
Of the P14.5 million earmarked for the construction and improvement of school buildings in 2018, state auditors found that only 9.87 percent or P1.43 million was utilized which resulted in two new classrooms at Rizal Elementary School in Lapaz.
A remaining budget of P13.07 million was left idle, which according to the 2014 Department of Education standard cost for classrooms, could’ve been used to build 18 classrooms more.
COA did note that Tarlac used the 2017 unutilized budget of P15 million to construct nine classrooms, improve six school buildings, and renovate a school covered court and perimeter fence.
In addition, state auditors tasked the provincial government to use portions of the unutilized budget to construct multi-purpose halls (MPH) for 373 public elementary and secondary schools aside from the staple covered courts.
In the report, the provincial government of Tarlac and the Provincial Loan School Board agreed to utilize the remaining available budget, and consider the construction of MPHs.
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