Dáil Éireann - Volume 647 - 20 February, 2008
Written Answers. - Capitation Grants.
Deputy Ruairí Quinn Deputy Ruairí Quinn
Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science her views on the analysis in the paper Profile of Basic Running Costs in Primary Schools that the capitation grant covers approximately 50% of the school running cost (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6076/08]
Deputy Mary Hanafin Deputy Mary Hanafin
Deputy Mary Hanafin: I am aware of the funding pressures on schools generally and it is a key priority for the Government to improve funding for the day-to-day running costs of schools. For that reason specific commitments in relation to improving school funding form a central part of the education provisions in the Programme for Government. These commitments are a direct follow on from the clear thrust of Government policy over recent years to improve the position of primary schools in particular.
In 2008 alone my Department will be paying around €167m to primary schools to meet their day to day running costs. The improvements announced in the last budget mean that the combined day-to-day funding for primary schools will increase by €21 to €330 per pupil. As a result, a primary school with 300 pupils will receive almost €100,000 to meet their running costs.
 The primary school capitation grant has been increased substantially in recent years. Since 1997 the standard rate of capitation grant has been increased from €57.14 per pupil to €178.58 from 1st January, 2008. This represents an increase of 212% in the standard rate of capitation grant since 1997.
Furthermore enhanced rates of capitation funding are paid in respect of children with special educational needs who attend special schools or special classes attached to mainstream schools. The current rates range from €457.00 to €880 per pupil — an increase of 42% from the rate in 2006.
The analysis referred to by the Deputy involves just 5 schools. There are clear limitations in extrapolating a general position for all 3,200 primary schools from such a limited sample. However, I agree that increases in primary capitation must be a priority and that is why we are committed to doubling it by 2012. This year, despite the overall difficult economic environment I delivered an increase of €15 per pupil on capitation levels in 2008. I want to assure the Deputy that this Government has a track record of significantly increasing funding for schools and we will continue to build on this and deliver on our Programme for Government commitment.
Dáil Éireann 647 Written Answers. Capitation Grants.