Cash crisis may force some primary schools to close - INTO

Donegal man says VAT and water rates are "crippling primary schools"

Cash crisis may force some primary schools to close - INTO

Some primary schools had to switch their heating off on certain days during the winter, according to a Donegal educator.

John Boyle, (pictured), Vice-President of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) and a native of Mullaghduff, revealed the extent of economic hardship in schools this week.

He was commenting on news that, in their briefing document to Minister Richard Bruton, Dept. of Education officials warned that that financial pressures are a “critical issue” for primary schools. The constraints, the report said, are "potentially more risky than having large class sizes" and might force the closure of some schools.

According to national media, the briefing document says covering running costs is "a critical issue" following an 11 per cent drop in capitation and other grants between 2011 and 2015. The cuts "create a risk that some may not be able to cover critical costs" such as heating or insurance, "the absence of which could trigger school closure", the document warned.

The steep drop in teacher numbers was also highlighted, with officials noting that it would take 1,300 new teachers, in addition to whatever is required due to increased enrolments, to return to the number of primary teachers in schools in 2008.

Mr Boyle said capitation grants, which meant to cover day to day running costs, teaching materials and resources, should be returned to 2008 levels. Rates for both primary and secondary schools should be the same, he added, as currently, the rate is 92c per primary student and €1.77 per secondary student.