Thursday 22 February 2018

'We've taken drastic measures to stay afloat -- and now this'

John Walshe

THE principal of a Cork primary school which has already taken drastic action to try to boost its finances is particularly fearful of the Budget.

"If there is a cut in the capitation grant we will be back to square one," said Micheal Rea, principal of Walterstown national school.

Three years ago the school was in serious financial trouble because of delays in getting grants from the State.

The banks were looking for personal guarantees from members of the board of management before they would lend money to pay electricity and oil bills.

The parents' association came to the rescue on that occasion but the crisis forced the principal and deputy principal, Catherine Lomas, to take drastic measures to cut costs and bring in some additional revenue.

Local schools banded together and negotiated bulk buying deals with suppliers of everything from oil to stationery.

But even that was not enough, so more help was sought from the parents.

They assisted with fund raising and in other ways as well. For instance, instead of paying €200 to hire a bus to bring students to matches, parents now take them in their own cars.

"At this stage we've done everything we can to reduce overheads and are keeping our heads above water," Mr Rea said.

However, if the grant per pupil is cut, his school will go back into the red, except this time it cannot fall back on parents, many of whom have lost jobs or are on reduced income.

Irish Independent

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