The Bendigo school from which a principal has been on indefinite leave is now without its council president after he resigned from the role.
Bendigo South East College council president Gavin Salvador, who served two years on the school’s council, wrote to acting principal Dale Pearce on March 17 to announce his resignation, citing private reasons for his decision.
Mr Salvador's departure comes while principal Ernie Fleming remains absent from BSE. The school's leader did not return for the start of the 2017 school year and an education department email to parents last week said his absence would continue into second term.
"I have always been a supporter of Ernie (Fleming) as principal, and I will always be a supporter of Ernie as principal," Mr Salvador said today.
The Bendigo Advertiser understands BSE is currently the subject of an Department of Education and Training financial audit, and that the audit is the reason for principal Ernie Fleming's absence.
A department spokesman yesterday refused to confirm an audit is underway or the reason for Mr Fleming's extended leave.
“With respect to the privacy of its employees, the Department does not comment on individual employee matters," the spokesman said.
The financial audit comes as parents of BSE students pay twice what they did just seven years ago, and as much as three three times that paid by families at competing high schools.
It cost Bendigo South East 7-10 College families an average of $1113 for every student enrolled at the school in 2015, MySchool data revealed.
But BSE parents have reported paying as much as $2000 per student once school uniform and additional costs, including membership of the school's elite sports and arts programs, is factored in.
In 2015, the city's three other government secondary schools - Weroona College Bendigo, Crusoe 7-10 Secondary College and Eaglehawk Secondary College - charged an average of $370, $420 and $476 respectively.
BSE parent contributions, which the MySchool website defines as "income received from parents for the delivery of education services to students", increased by $550 since 2009, a jump of almost 100 per cent.
While Weeroona school fees saw a similar percentage increase, it amounted to a difference of just $180.
Average parent contributions at Eaglehawk grew by $158 between 2009 and 2015, while a $58 increase was experienced at Crusoe.