Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

141 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Education and Science the costs of the ASTI dispute playground supervision contingency plan; and the progress being made to resolve this dispute. [21994/02]

In August 2002, the ASTI reiterated to its members that the directive not to co-operate with supervision arrangements would continue to operate from the new school year pending a consultation and decision making process with its membership. In the circumstances and in order to keep schools open, my Department agreed in discussions with the representative management groups, to appropriate arrangements being made by schools that would involve non-teaching personnel carrying out supervision duties, as appropriate. My Department, by circular letter dated 15 August 2002, advised schools of amended arrangements for the employment and remuneration of these personnel. However, schools were permitted to retain those arrangements that were in place for the 2001-02 school year for an interim period pending the putting in place of the new arrangements. For purposes of the temporary interim arrangements, payments have been made to schools by my Department, calculated on the basis of €1,369 per whole-time equivalent teacher post per annum. In addition, funding has also been provided to cover employer's PRSI and holiday pay. Under the arrangements a payment amounting to 5% of supervision costs are been provided to schools to pay for additional support, including secretarial assistance.

In aggregate, the sum disbursed to date since the ASTI directive to its members to withdraw from voluntary supervision and substitution duties took effect on 4 March 2002 amounts to some €24.7 million. The temporary interim arrangements acknowledges that supplementary allocations may need to be made to some schools at a later stage if their approved outgoings are greater than the amount of the grant.

The terms of proposals made to and accepted by the INTO and the TUI in relation to payment for supervision and substitution are on offer to the ASTI. At a special convention on 19 October 2002, the ASTI decided to ballot the union's membership on these proposals. That ballot is ongoing and a result is expected in the near future.