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Capitation Grants.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 26 January 2005

Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Questions (761)

Trevor Sargent

Question:

822 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will reconsider the financial burden being put on schools which are now required to pay for collection of bins by local authorities; and if this cost will be offset by making it refundable from her Department to avoid adding to the financial burden which requires extensive fund raising on behalf of many schools in the country. [34307/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

Schools' running costs are met by my Department's scheme of capitation grants. These grants are intended to contribute towards the general operating costs of national schools which would include heating, lighting, cleaning, insurance, painting, teaching aids and other miscellaneous charges.

The capitation grant for primary schools has been increased substantially in recent years. Since 1997 the standard rate of capitation grant has been increased from £45, €57.14, per pupil to €121.58 with effect from 1 January 2004, an increase of almost 113% in the period. Provision has been made for a further increase of €12 per pupil in the capitation grant with effect from 1 January 2005 bringing the standard rate to €133.58.

There have also been significant improvements in the level of funding for second level schools. The standard per capita grant now amounts to €286 as against the rate of €224.74 that applied in 1997. This increase will bring the per capita grant in the case of disadvantaged schools to €324 per pupil. In addition, under the school services support fund initiative, secondary schools have benefited from further significant increases in the support grant. This grant which was introduced in September 2000 has been increased from €25 per pupil to the current rate of €103 from 1 January 2005.

Funding for voluntary secondary schools has been further enhanced by the introduction of a range of equalisation measures that are designed to reduce the historic anomalies in the funding arrangements for the different school types at second level. Under the terms of recent equalisation measures, the support grant has in the case of voluntary secondary schools been significantly enhanced to €145 per pupil from 1 January 2005. These increases are in addition to the range of equalisation grants of up to €15,554 per school per annum that have also been approved for voluntary secondary schools.

Local authority service and other charges payable to the various local authorities do not come within the remit of my Department. It would be a matter for the local authorities to decide whether schools are liable to pay such charges. Where it is decided that schools are liable for such charges, the cost would form part of the normal running costs of schools and would fall to be met from the capitation funding which schools have received from my Department.

It would not be feasible for my Department to introduce specific schemes whereby grant assistance would be provided to schools in respect of individual charges such as bin collections.

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