Dáil Éireann - Volume 655 - 21 May, 2008

Written Answers. - School Funding.

Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to a report delivered to the recent meeting in Galway of the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools which stated that secondary schools are required to independently raise up to €60 million a year and that 27% of the cost of day to day spending on heating and lighting has to be financed by voluntary contributions or other fund-raising measures due to the deficit in finance allocated to cover the costs of secondary school education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19721/08]

  Deputy Batt O’Keeffe: I can confirm that I am aware of the report referred to by the Deputy. As the Deputy is aware secondary schools receive funding by way of per capita grants, to meet their day-to-day running costs, including heating and lighting. There have been significant improvements in recent years in the level of funding for voluntary secondary schools. With effect from January 2008, the standard per capita grant was increased by €15 per pupil and now amounts to €331 per pupil. In addition, voluntary secondary schools have benefited by the increase of €15 per pupil in 2008 in the support services grant bringing that grant to €204 per pupil.

The total increase of €30 per pupil in a voluntary secondary school brings the aggregate grant to €535 per pupil. The Deputy should be aware that these grants are in addition to the per capita funding, of up to €40,000 per school, that is also provided by my Department to secondary schools towards secretarial and caretaking services. Accordingly, in the case of a secondary school with 500 pupils, this brings the annual grants towards general expenses and support service to over €300,000. It is my intention to prioritise the commitments in the Programme for Government 2007-2012 relating to improved funding for our schools, for delivery over the lifetime of this Government, having regard to available resources.