School faces struggle to pay €9,000 gas bill
Published 26/11/2010 | 05:00
THEY call it the National Recovery Plan but it has stripped one school, at least, of the money to pay its gas bill for six months from January.
A 5pc reduction in state grants to meet day-to-day running costs amounts to a €9,000-a-year drop in income for Sacred Heart of Jesus primary school in Huntstown, west Dublin.
The story is repeated across the 4,000 primary and post-primary schools around the country and will save the Exchequer €22m a year.
Sean Dempsey, principal of the 800-pupil Huntstown school, said he has no idea how he would deal with the funding shortfall.
"This is going to challenge us. We will have to see how it works out, but we will probably have to cut down".
He said the €9,000 annual loss was enough to cover either the electricity or gas bill for a six-month period.
There was no way he would consider asking parents for more money because parents were facing cuts in their own household budgets next year.
He said it cost about €240,000 a year -- averaged at €20,000 a month over a 12 months -- to run the school, which receives €180,000 through state grants.
The grants go on essentials such as utility bills, office equipment, cleaning and maintenance. Among the pressing demands on the school's budget at the moment is a new photocopier, which will cost €5,000.