Written Answers. - Education Boards.

Micheál Martin

Question:

141 Mr. Martin asked the Minister for Education the cost of establishing the ten regional education boards outlined in the White Paper on Education. [17810/95]

The establishment of Education Boards will involve changing the administration framework for education. This process will not result in a completely new area of expenditure, in addition to the present expenditure levels, but rather will also involve the reallocation of funding and administrative responsibilities within the education system. In this process, resources will be freed from some areas to help offset resource needs in other areas.

The White Paper on Education, Charting Our Education Future, makes clear that the establishment of Education Boards will take place on a phased basis, following the enactment of the necessary legislation. The gradual transfer of functions to the boards will facilitate careful appraisal of the incremental costs in the context of the Education Estimates for the year in question, within the overall context of the budgetary parameters approved by Government. It is therefore not possible to be precise at this stage about the administrative cost of the education boards, taking account of all the relevant factors, when the new arrangements become fully operational.

I should conclude by saying that consideration of any additional costs should take into account the significant benefits which the new arrangements will bring — benefits in terms of improved regional planning and co-ordination of all education services, and the provision of support services to primary and secondary schools in the most cost-effective way.