Islamic school in financial scandal loses funding after skipping gov't deadline

Arie Slob, ChristenUnie, on Feb 4, 2012
Arie Slob, ChristenUnie, on Feb 4, 2012Anne Paul RoukemaWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

The Cornelius Haga Lyceum in Amsterdam will get no more funding from the government as of December 1st, Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education said in a letter to parliament. The Minister gave the Islamic school until today to appoint a new director, due to financial mismanagement by the previous director, and the school missed the deadline, the Minister said. This is the first time ever such a decision is made at the cabinet level, the Ministry of Education said in a statement. 

The Cornelius Haga Lyceum cannot yet appoint their intended interim director, because he is not a Muslim, the Volkskrant reports based on a letter the school sent to the Ministry of Education. The school wanted to appoint Marcel Heuver as interim director. But the school's statutes state that the managing directors must be "clearly Muslim and live by the rules of the Quran and Sunnah". Heuver does not meet this requirement, and amending the statutes can take weeks.

Minister Slob did not find this acceptable. The school had months to get its affairs in order - Slob ordered the school to appoint new management in July. He therefore announced that the school's funding will be halted. "All our efforts are aimed at offering all students a safe learning environment,” Minister Arie Slob said. “The funding will be stopped as of December 1 so that a suitable place can be found for each student, working together with the municipality." 

The Education Inspectorate informed Slob that the proposed director has administrative knowledge and experience outside the education field, and general knowledge of and experience within education. Slob agreed with the appointment of Heuver, provided he also gets support from external education experts. 

The funding decision may be reversed if the Cornelius Haga Lyceum transfers all administrative powers to the agreed upon interim director by noon on Thursday, the ministry said. The interim director will then have until mid-January to implement all necessary changes or the school will lose its funding for good.