The New Westminster school district is in such financial dire straits that the board of education unanimously passed a motion at Tuesday's meeting to ask the auditor general to review the district's books for this school year.
It's something some parents in New Westminster have been calling for since the almost $2.8-million deficit from last year was announced in September.
Mary Ann McKenzie, chair of the New Westminster Secondary School parent council, said she was "pleased" with the board's decision.
"It's not surprising, but it's still like 'Oh, my God,'" she said.
McKenzie told The Record last week that she believes the best way to handle the district's budget issues is to bring in the auditor general to "dig out whatever systematic problems are causing surprise deficits."
Frustrated parents on the NWSS parent council recently voted unanimously in favour of a motion of non-confidence in the district's ability to manage its finances in response to last year's deficit.
"I would prefer for someone to really get in there with teeth. For the auditor general to get in there with teeth and to do a much deeper, longer dive into what systematically is causing a problem that a deficit of that nature would come out of the blue," she said.
On Tuesday night, McKenzie applauded the fact that there were no partisan disagreements about the motion - the board is divided between labour-endorsed trustees and Voice New Westminster ones.
Roughly 20 people turned up at the meeting, including parents and school staff, to hear a report from consultant Joan Axford on the district's dire budget situation. In addition to last year's deficit, the district faces a $2.2-million deficit if it doesn't start making cuts.
The motion to have the auditor general monitor the implementation of the 2012/13 amended budget and board deficit repayment plan passed with no discussion.