Donegal Sinn Féin TD, Pearse Doherty, has hit out at the Minister for Educations decision to impose further cuts on small rural schools.
Deputy Doherty described it as an “appalling decision that will further cripple small rural schools who are reeling from the cuts that were imposed on them in December’s budget”.
Deputy Doherty said; “Yesterday’s announcement to partially reverse the cut to Urban Deis schools is to be welcomed. Demanding that rural schools take a 3.5% cut to the capitation funding for primary schools in 2012, however, is appalling. Many schools already have to fund their running costs through cake sales, voluntary donations from parents and other fundraising activities. This, in effect, will mean a five euro cut for every child. While some of the larger schools will be able to absorb this cut, it will impact deepest on the smaller schools.
“In December’s budget, the Fine Gael and Labour government launched a full attack on small rural schools, by increasing the number of pupils they require to retain a classroom teacher. As a result of this change, dozens of schools will lose teachers and pupils will be forced into larger multiple classes. Many parents, teachers and concerned citizens will be shocked that the result of their lobbying efforts to have this cut reversed was for the Minister not to reverse the decision but today to impose even greater hardship on these same schools by cutting their funding by 3.5%.
“There can be no doubt about it, this government is hell bent to see the closure of schools across rural Ireland. The public must let them know that we will not stand idly by while they toy with our children’s future.”