IRISH SCHOOLS CANNOT be run at their current level of funding, a teachers’ union has said.
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) made the comment after it emerged that eight of Ireland’s most affluent schools received €50,000 each on average in additional State funding in 2012.
The data was given to RTÉ by the Revenue Commissioners. This evening, INTO said that the day to day running costs of primary schools far exceed state funding.
It alleges that the under-funding “is being covered up, topped up and made good mainly by principal teachers who spend more and more time fundraising”.
Sheila Nunan, general secretary of the INTO, said:
Government funding to schools does not cover basic running costs such as heating, light and electricity, cleaning, insurance, office expenses and classroom equipment. It is less than a euro per pupil per school day. Schools cannot be run on this level of funding.
Without local funding through voluntary contributions by parents and fundraising activities, schools would be seriously in the red, the union said.
Ms Nunan said what was effectively happening was that parents were paying a “local education” tax. “This is completely unacceptable,” she said. “School running costs should be fully met by the Department of Education. Government is underfunding schools and relying on parents to make up the shortfall.”
Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that this funding was “further benefiting schools where parents could afford to contribute”.
The Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson said that this type of scheme is “fundamentally inequitable”.
“I can understand from the schools’ perspective that they are desperate to fundraise, but the manner in which the State oversees education funding results in a tiered education system,” he said, adding that he believes that ideally, the payment of voluntary contributions should be scrapped altogether.