Wednesday, 7 March 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
242. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has satisfied himself that the school maintenance programme in respect of primary and second level schools is adequate to meet requirements, with particular reference to the need to ensure ongoing maintenance and refurbishment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7215/01]
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Ongoing responsibility for maintenance and refurbishment in schools rests with the school authorities, that is the manager of the school or the relevant VEC. Funding for this purpose is provided to schools as part of the annual capitation grants.
The Deputy will be aware of the significant improvement in the level of capitation grants since 1997. The standard rate of capitation grant for primary schools has been increased from £45 per pupil to £75.50 in the current school year. A rate of £80 will apply in the 2000/2001 school year. This represents an increase of some 77% over four years. These increases in the capitation grant constitute important steps in the process of increasing capitation funding at primary level.
At second level, the per capita grant was increased by £8 from September last and now stands at £192 per pupil. It will be significantly increased by £10 to £202 for the next school year. For a school with 500 pupils this amounts to an extra £12,500 per annum and a total capitation grant of £101,000 towards general expenses. An additional per capita grant of £30 per pupil is payable to disadvantaged schools. Accordingly, this increase will bring the overall per capita payment to £232, thereby bringing the total grant in the case of such a school with 500 pupils to £116,000. Budgets for VEC and C&C schools are increased on a pro rata basis with increases in the per capita grant.
It is also open to school authorities or the relevant vocational education committees to apply to the Department's building unit for additional capital funding for improvement works. In such cases resources are allocated as circumstances warrant.
The increases in the capitation grant referred to above constitute a meaningful response to the funding issues involved. I am committed to improving further the funding position of schools in the light of available resources.
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