Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (465)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

582 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a school (details supplied) in County Galway has not been offered a devolved fund payment towards the cost of much needed extra classrooms, new toilets and a water supply system; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this school received a grant for remedial works last year yet it is still in a very poor state by way of gross overcrowding; if his Department will enter into negotiations with the board of management to agree specifications, under the devolved funding programme, that meet current national school standards, taking into account the limited capacity of a small rural community to raise money; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2252/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The pilot small schools initiative was expanded as part of the 2004 school building programme and more than 50 additional schools were invited to participate in the initiative. Many other schools would like to be given the opportunity to participate but it is necessary to evaluate the initiative fully before broadening the scheme's scope to cover all schools. The band rating assigned by my Department to individual projects in architectural planning was used to determine which of these projects would be considered for inclusion in the 2004 school building programme as part of the small schools initiative. A large-scale building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is listed in section 9 of the 2004 school building programme which is published on my Department's website at www.education.ie. This proposed project is at the early stages of architectural planning. It has been assigned a band 3 rating by my Department in accordance with the published criteria for prioritising large-scale projects. Band 3 projects were not considered at this time for inclusion in the small schools initiative.

The budget announcement regarding multiannual capital envelopes will enable me to adopt a multiannual framework for the school building programme which in turn will give greater clarity regarding projects not progressing in this year's programme. I will make a further announcement on this during the year. I have put in place a new devolved summer works scheme. This caters for necessary works that can be planned and delivered during the summer holidays. The 2004 programme will be updated in early spring to provide details of projects approved under the scheme.