Children in Northern Ireland are being "let down and disadvantaged" because their schools are not managing their budgets, a committee of MPs has said.
The committee looked at school budgets
The Public Accounts Committee examined how schools spend a budget of £950m.
It expressed concern at poor budget monitoring which led to many schools either under-spending or over-spending.
It said it was "alarming" that 38 schools had deficits of more than 20%. The department had recovery plans in place to remedy the situation, it said.
BBC Northern Ireland education correspondent Maggie Taggart said: "The Department of Education has told schools to tackle the mismatch with budgets.
"However, the committee said that if schools do not manage to keep to their budgets better, they could lose the power to run their own finances.
"The work of school governors has been praised.
"But MPs said the authorities needed to make sure there were enough governors with relevant skills and that they don't just 'rubber stamp' the decisions of school principals."
Following publication of the report on Friday, committee chairman Edward Leigh said the committee had identified a "general lack of accountability for performance".
"Schools in Northern Ireland are coping well with the challenge of controlling a large amount of public money," he said.
"But my committee still has concerns over how the money is managed.
"In particular, without changes, increasing school budget deficits and unspent balances will continue to represent an inefficient use of scarce resources."
Earlier this month, the department admitted that more than 1,200 schools in Northern Ireland had been given the wrong budget for this year.
The total gap in the budget was £1.3m and it is not clear how the department will make up the shortfall.
The department described it as a "minor error" in its accounting which was spotted by the department's own team, preparing next year's budget.
A spokeswoman said the Department of Education noted the recommendations made by the PAC in its report.
"A detailed memorandum of reply will now be prepared, setting out the department's considered response to the issues raised," she said.