The General Meeting of the Greek Orthodox Community of Oakleigh and District took place on April 18 with the approval of the financial statement toping the agenda.

The Community’s accounts reflected a debt for the financial year ending on December 31, 2009 which included both long term and short term, as well as the combined operating deficits of the Community and the Greek Orthodox College of Sts Anargiri amount to $5.7 million.

The Community has taken out loans in the amount of $5.2 million.

The operating deficit of the Community last year reached $146,084 and the deficit of the school was $342,574. The Community’s debt equals roughly one third of the value of its assets.

The President of the Community, Angelos Sardellis attributed the College’s deficit to the decrease of student enrolments during the past academic year.

Members were informed that the Community holds an overdraft account of approximately $1.2 million for its operating needs. The President clarified that as of December 31, 2009 the overdraft account amounted to $667,470 since the Community has a savings account of $516,437.

When asked by a member why the Community did not utilise its savings to cover operating costs since the interest paid on the overdraft account is greater than the one accrued from the savings, Mr Sardellis argued that the government does not allocate in time the subsidies that the school is entitled forcing the Community to use the overdraft account to pay for teacher’s salaries and to cover other school needs.

Tension emanated during the General Meeting when a father whose children study in Sts Anargiri College complained about the “quality of education” and claimed that this has been the main contributing factor to the school’s decreased enrolment numbers.

The father lashed out against the Community Board and accused them of being incapable of managing the school effectively. “You have increased the tuition but you have not improved the level of education. The College has offered certain things to our children but these are not enough,” the parent said. He claimed that he knew many parents who shared these views.

The President of the Community called his outburst “insulting” and assured the parent that they constantly strive to improve the school. To this end the

Vice-President of the Community, Chris Kontos highlighted that the Board hired an expert company that is assessing the College over the last 12 months and will eventually recommend any needed changes.