POLICE have charged a 40-year-old Oakleigh South man over the theft of more than more than $200,000 from a Monash kindergarten.
Police allege that between January and August this year the man, who is a member of the kindergarten’s parent committee, stole $200,879 from the accounts of Ward Avenue Kindergarten.
The money is believed to have been the proceeds of several years of fundraising by the parents, and funding from the state education department.
Detective Senior Constable Matt De Boer, of the Monash crime investigation unit, said the man has been bailed and will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court next Tuesday.
Ward Avenue Kindergarten is run by Early Childhood Management Services, a not-for-profit community organisation.
Chief executive Bernie Nott confirmed that allegations had been levelled against a kindergarten committee member.
‘‘The funds have been allegedly misappropriated from the volunteer parent committee that supports the kindergarten,’’ Mr Nott said.
‘‘It’s an unfortunate circumstance and we’re doing everything to reassure parents.
‘‘This particular issue won’t impact the day-to-day running of the kinder and parents can be confident that the kinder will continue to operate.’’
Mr Nott wouldn’t say why such a large amount of money was kept on the premises.
According to its most recent annual report, ECMS runs 47 kindergartens and nine day care centres across Melbourne.
Almost 4750 families use its early childhood services and about 3000 children are enrolled in the kindergarten program.
Term fees are $265 for three year olds and $455 for four year olds.
Mr Nott declined to comment on whether kindergarten staff had noticed anything out of order.
‘‘We’ve got a really dedicated team of staff at the kindergarten who are in no way implicated in this investigation,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re certainly concerned about it but they’re working really hard to continue to provide the great service they do.’’