Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue has appealed to the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to immediately address the escalating funding crisis at primary school level.
According to Deputy McConalogue, more and more primary schools are falling into unmanageable debt as a result of a series of cuts introduced by Minister Quinn, including the decision to scrap the minor works grant last academic year.
“Minister Quinn cannot ignore what is clearly becoming a financial crisis in the primary school system,” said Deputy McConalogue. “The first step towards addressing this must be the reinstatement of the minor works scheme. This grant was worth between €5,000 and €12,000 to primary schools and its loss has had a significant impact on the financial health of thousands of schools across the country.
“Many primary schools depended on this cash injection to carry out small but necessary works to the school’s facilities. This money was particularly valuable in light of other significant cuts to resources, including cuts to the capitation grant and the scrapping of the summer works scheme. Abolishing the minor works grant on top of everything else has pushed many schools over the edge.
“Minister Quinn cannot continue to stand over a situation where public primary schools are unable to cope with an ever growing black hole in their finances. This puts enormous pressure on staff, boards of management and on parents who are often expected to help raise the additional extra funds to keep the school’s doors open. If this is not addressed as a matter of priority, there is no doubt that pupils will suffer as a result.”