Budget fails to tackle funding crisis in primary schools

The Government’s Budget has failed to tackle the funding crisis in primary schools, according to the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN), the professional body for primary school leaders.

The Government’s Budget has failed to tackle the funding crisis in primary schools, according to the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN), the professional body for primary school leaders.

The IPPN state that an extra cut of 0.5% in the capitation grant for primary schools, which covers their day-to-day running costs, means that schools will struggle to operate as their budgets are squeezed adding that the Government had already taken money this year from the capitation grant to fund the decision to part-reverse cuts to teacher numbers in disadvantaged schools.

Now, it has taken 0.5% from primary schools’ capitation budgets, on top of the 3.5% cut already announced, which will have a huge impact on schools’ ability to cover their running costs.

Gerry Murphy, IPPN President, said already indebted schools would face bigger deficits next year following the Budget.

“It is very disappointing that, instead of reversing cuts to the capitation grant, the Government has imposed a further reduction in funding that will drive already-struggling schools into bankruptcy,” said Gerry Murphy, IPPN President.

“As schools face a perfect storm of rising utility costs, declining voluntary contributions and reduced Government funding, the Budget measure will widen the gap between school revenue and expenditure, forcing many of them into large deficits,” he said.

IPPN had called on the Government to create a single operational grant paid quarterly to schools, giving them flexibility to set their own spending priorities and relieving crippling cash-flow problems.

Seán Cottrell, IPPN Director, said the move not to increase primary school class size was welcome.

“The commitment in the Budget not to further enlarge primary school classes will protect education outcomes - but schools will struggle to operate as their budgets are squeezed. The stakes have never been higher for primary education. If resources continue to be cut education outcomes will fall and our future compromised,” he said.