Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Ceisteanna (464)

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

581 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the proposed devolved payment of €100,000 as grant aid to a school (details supplied) in County Galway which is inadequate to fund the school extension to the specifications required by his Department; if it is possible, through negotiations between officials of his Department and the school management, to agree to a project that would cost less than the €218,000 estimated cost and still maintain the standards needed for a modern day primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2251/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

Brownsgrove national school is a two-classroom school that has been invited to participate in a devolved initiative to enable it provide additional permanent ancillary accommodation at the school within a maximum grant level of €100,000. This initiative devolves control to school authorities over the planning and construction phases of small-scale additional permanent accommodation works. The closing date for accepting invitations into this scheme is Friday, 30 January 2004. If there is a shortfall in funding, the options open to the board of management are to: reduce the scale of the works to stay within the limit of the grant; use funds allocated by the Department under the terms of the grant scheme for minor works to supplement the grant provided such funds are not required for more urgent and immediate works; fund the balance of the works from their own resources and decline the invitation to participate in the scheme. My Department does not intend increasing the amount of the grant offered to the school. 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.