The principal of a popular Bendigo secondary college absent from his post since January will not return to the school for the start Term 3.
There are still three weeks until public schools break for their mid-year break, but a Victorian education department spokesman today confirmed Bendigo South East College principal Ernie Fleming would remain absent next term.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce would continue to act as the school’s principal.
The department has consistently refused to provide details on Mr Fleming’s future, saying privacy obligations prevented it from commenting on employee matters.
But the Bendigo Advertiser understands his absence is tied to a financial audit of the Bendigo South East books.
While the spokesman would not confirm an audit was underway, he said such activities were common practice at the department.
The Bendigo Advertiser reported in April Bendigo South East school fees were as much as double those at other government-run secondary schools in Bendigo, and had risen by almost 100 percent since 2009.
Mr Fleming’s absence is not the only leadership shake-up at the school in 2017.
Mr Fleming’s son, Adam, resigned from his position atop the school’s Athlete Development Program in April, while school council president Gavin Salvador also left behind his position.
"I have always been a supporter of Ernie (Fleming) as principal, and I will always be a supporter of Ernie as principal," Mr Salvador, who was serving his second year on the school’s council, said after his resignation.