Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (403, 404, 405, 406)

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

515 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Education and Science the school projects placed on the yearly list based on transparent definite analysis by his Department; the reason scoil naisiúnta Tuairini, Moycullen, County Galway, and some other schools in County Galway were not chosen for the pilot scheme; if SN Tuairini was considered; if not, if it was deemed as not an urgent accommodation need; the position in regard to SN Tuairini's application; if it is being considered for a new school; and if funding will be forthcoming in 2004 for the construction of such a school. [1871/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The 2004 school building programme was published in December last and is available on the Department's website atwww.education.ie. When publishing the programme, I outlined that my strategy will be grounded in capital investment based on multi-annual allocations.

My officials are reviewing all projects which were not authorised to proceed to construction as part of the 2004 school building programme, with a view to including them as part of a multi-annual school building programme from 2005. I expect to be in a position to make further announcements on this matter in the course of the year. Scoil naisiunta Tuairini, Moycullen, County Galway, will be considered in this regard.

Enda Kenny

Question:

516 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received an application for funding for the provision of toilet facilities at a school (details supplied) in County Mayo; his views in regard to this application; if in view of the relatively small amount involved he will include this immediately in the scheme for small improvements for primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1872/04]

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My Department has received an application for additional accommodation at the school referred to by the Deputy.

When publishing the 2004 school building programme, I outlined that my strategy will be grounded in capital investment based on multi-annual allocations. My officials are reviewing all projects which were not authorised to proceed to construction as part of the 2004 school building programme, with a view to including them as part of a multi-annual school building programme from 2005. I expect to be in a position to make further announcements on this matter in the course of the year. The project referred to by the Deputy will be considered in this regard.

Seán Crowe

Question:

517 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will review the situation with regard to St. Dominic's College, Ratoath Road, Dublin 7, which was promised funding in 2003 that has yet to materialise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1882/04]

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The large scale building project at St. Dominic's College, Ratoath Road, Dublin 7 is listed in section 8 of the 2004 school building programme which is published on my Department's website atwww.education.ie. This project is at an advanced stage of architectural planning. It has been assigned a band 2 rating by my Department in accordance with the published criteria for prioritising large scale projects.

The budget announcement regarding multi-annual capital envelopes will enable me to adopt a multi-annual framework for the school building programme which, in turn, will give greater clarity regarding projects that are not progressing in this year's programme. I will make a further announcement in that regard during the year.

Paul McGrath

Question:

518 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science the expenditure ceiling for primary schools which have been selected for capital works under this scheme; the way he expects major proposed developments such as Dysart NS and Fore NS to be scaled down to fit within this budget. [1927/04]

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The small and rural primary schools initiative operates on a devolved basis. It allows boards of management to address the accommodation and building priorities with a guaranteed amount of funding and gives the boards control over the pace at which building works proceed. The amount of the grant ranges between €100,000 and €350,000, depending on the pupil enrolment and the size of the school. This initiative is aimed at schools with a maximum of four classrooms. Closing date for accepting invitations into the pilot initiative is Friday, 30 January 2004.

My Department does not intend increasing the amount of the grant offered to schools under this initiative. This provision is necessary because a central tenet of the devolved scheme is that a school authority, granted discretion and guaranteed funding to enable immediate progress on its accommodation needs, must equally accept responsibility for prioritisation, control of costs and ensuring value for money.