Written Answers. - Schools Funding.

Willie Penrose

Question:

29 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science his proposals to meet the commitment given in An Agreed Programme for Government to significantly increase direct school funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21752/02]

Significant improvements in the levels of direct funding to schools have been made in recent years. The standard rate of capitation grant for primary schools was substantially increased from €57.14 per pupil in 1997 to €105.00 per pupil in this school year. This represented an increase of 84% in the standard rate of capitation grant at primary level over the period. In addition, the standard rate will be further increased to €111.58 in respect of the coming 2002-03 school year.

At post-primary level, schools have also benefited from increases in the standard per capita grant. The grant was increased from €224.74 per pupil in 1997 to €256.49 in September 2001, and was further increased by €10 from September last to €266.49 or a school with 500 pupils, this amounts to an extra €20,875 per annum, and a total capitation grant of €133,245 towards general expenses. An additional per capita grant of €38.09 per pupil is paid to disadvantaged schools bringing the total grant in the case of such a school with 500 pupils to €152,290.

This Government is intent on implementing further significant increases in line with the commitment given in An Agreed Programme for Government. The Deputy will appreciate that this commitment relates to the term of office of the Government and its implementation will be considered in the context of the Estimates processes over that period.