Saturday 25 May 2019

Funding crisis: 'Schools cannot run on less than €1 a day per pupil'

Delegates: Adrienne Nolan and her sister Irene with Conor Bredin during a break at the INTO annual congress in Galway. Photo: Damien Eagers
Delegates: Adrienne Nolan and her sister Irene with Conor Bredin during a break at the INTO annual congress in Galway. Photo: Damien Eagers
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Primary teachers say schools cannot run on the less than €1 a day they receive from the Government for each pupil.

Cuts in grants to schools for day-to-day running costs fduring the austerity era have not been restored, although a start is being made in September.

The Irish National Teacher's Organisation (INTO) has been lobbying on the issue over the past year and union president Joe Killeen said yesterday it would be ramping up the campaign. The shortfall left by State grants meant that teachers and parents were fundraising for basic expenditure and schools were in "absolute neglect", he said at the INTO annual conference.

In 2010, the capitation grant was €200 per pupil, but a series of cuts, followed by a period of stagnation, has left it at €170 since 2015.

At €170 a year it works out at 93c a day per pupil to cover costs such as heating, lighting and other day-to-day expenses.

Budget 2019 will deliver a 5pc rise in September, but Mr Killeen said this was only a modest restoration, and would still leave the grant at less than €1 a day per pupil, which would have no noticeable impact on the crisis in funding facing schools.

Mr Killeen asked where was the rest of what "was taken from our schools at the time we bailed out the bondholders?"

He said primary schools fared badly when it came to funding compared to post-primary and third-level.

"One euro per pupil per day will not run a school and provide the standard of education we want to deliver," he said.

Mr Killeen said the aim of the campaign was "to secure a significant increase in funding which will liberate our teachers to focus on their primary duty - the education of our pupils".

A survey by the Catholic Primary School Managers' Association (CPSMA) last year found that the State was meeting only 53pc of the running costs of a primary school and that more than €46m a year was being contributed by parents or through other fundraising initiatives.

Irish Independent

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