Toronto High School hires a business manager to help with local school spending


Toronto High School was one of the first schools in the state to employ a business manager to help its principal deal with the school's finances since the NSW state government have principals discretion over spending in a 2014 reform.

Critics of the government's Local Schools, Local Decisions reform say that the decision to add financial management and infrastructure planning to a principal's core role was to effectively add another burden to already overburdened school leaders, and prompted calls for the government to supply schools with financial managers.

But, as the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday, not everyone agrees.

The NSW Teachers Federation wants the department to take back responsibility for managing budgets and providing services. "Bursars are an utter waste of taxpayers' money that should instead be spent on directly supporting kids in the classroom," president Maurie Mulheron said.

At Toronto High School, principal Mark McConville said "since the new funding model has come in, it's been a really positive thing".

"We were one of the first schools in the state to employ a business manager," Mr McConville told the SMH. "Using the additional funding we were able to make that decision, for the very reason that I saw an increasing administration workload for principals [under the new arrangements]."

Toronto High School in the Hunter region is now among 114 high schools across the state that employ a business manager - a decision Mr McConville said is "freeing up principals to be the lead teacher".

"The day in the life of a school principal can be extremely busy. I'm accountable for absolutely everything that happens - child protection, finance, general administration - but the key is improving education outcomes. You really want to maintain your focus on classroom teachers and education; you don't want to be focusing on the maintenance of the school," he said.