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Calls for increased funding as primary schools in Laois see continued rise in costs over past two years

A Laois TD has called upon the Government to provide increased funding for primary schools in the county as their costs continue to rise year.

Primary schools have reported a significant jump in the prices they are forced to pay for basic outgoings such as heating, electricity and insurance.

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) figures show that Ireland spends on average 12.5% less per student at primary level than other developed countries.

Reports show seven out of ten primary schools have run at a deficit at some stage over the past 12 months.

Schools reported the following average cost increases over the past two years:

  • 37% increase in heating costs,
  • 35% increase in electricity costs,
  • 19% increase in insurance costs.

“While costs continually go up, support in real terms from the state goes down. This Government does not listen to them,” local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley told the Dáil.

“In recent weeks I have also met with the INTO (Irish National Teachers Organisation) and Irish Primary Principals’ Network, to listen to them and their concerns around funding for their schools.”

Deputy Stanley has put forth a number of initiatives, including aligning the Government’s Capitation Grant with current cost of living and in parity with other educational sectors.

The Sinn Féin TD called for A Grants Schedule to be published at the start of each school year, and for the Government to “meaningfully and urgently” address the teacher supply crisis.

“One off cost of living grants does not cut the mustard. They do not address the ongoing funding crisis,” Deputy Stanley said.

“It gets the Government a headline and a photo opportunity, and then they neglect to address the problems or fund the solutions in real terms.

“If schools are lucky the Capitation Grant will cover heating, electricity, and school insurance. It does not cover costs such as bins and sanitary disposal, office software system, Irish water charges, or a range of other things.

“The Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Green Government could fund our education sector adequately if they actually chose to, but this Government chooses not to fund our primary schools to the levels required.

“Funding in Education needs serious, immediate, and huge investment.

“That is what my party is calling for and that is what my party would deliver if we were in Government. We have offered them sensible costed alternatives that address the needs in our Primary Schools.

“This current Government cannot continue to ignore the funding crisis in the Primary School sector.”

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