The Auditor-General has noted serious financial difficulties at 32 schools this year, up from just 19 a year ago.
In a report presented to Parliament on Wednesday, Lyn Provost also highlights financial problems at a significant minority of Maori immersion schools (kura kaupapa Maori).
The report is based on an overview of the financial audits of public education organisations in 2010 and this year.
It says auditors found serious difficulties at 32 schools, mainly because they did not have enough money to cover short-term expenses.
Last year, they found 19 schools in that situation and in 22 in 2009.
The report also includes a review of the financial management of kura kaupapa Maori.
It says most kura have good systems, but a significant minority do not reflect good practice.
The report says 16% of kura do not have sound financial policies and 29% have significant deficiencies in their financial controls.