North Cork school principal insists parents must not be shouldered with the burden of spiralling running costs

THE principal of a North Cork post primary school has called for a review of the capitation grant amid concerns it will not cover the increasing costs of electricity and heating this winter.

nder the system currently in place the capitation grant for post primary schools, which is used to cover the day to day costs of running a school such as heating and power, stands at €276 per pupil and is based on school population.

However, Vera Leader, principal of Boherbue Comprehensive School, said it should instead be based on the size of the school building as larger schools are invariably more expensive to maintain.

“The grant should take account of the size of the building as obviously a bigger school building is more expensive to heat regardless of how many students are in it,” said Ms Leader.

“There are also increased maintenance upkeep and cleaning costs in a larger building, which again is not taken into account in the capitation grant,” added.

Ms Leader said schools are hoping the upcoming budget will take into account the financial challenges facing them within the context of the current energy crisis and high inflation rate.

“It is a really big worry for school principals that the capitation grant as its stands will not cover spiralling costs of electricity and oil this year,” said Ms Leader.

“These escalating costs are already having an impact and this will become even more apparent as we move into October and November when both prices and energy usage increases,” she added.

She said it was imperative that measures be introduced in the in the budget to alleviate the “crisis in school funding” and that the burden of making up any financial shortfall should not fall on the shoulders of student’s families.

“Like households, schools must do their bit in terms of being energy conscious and making savings where they can, without jeopardising the quality of education offered. However, the increased costs of running schools cannot, and indeed must not, be passed onto families who are already coming under immense financial pressure,” said Ms Leader.

“In addition increasing the amount of the capitation grant based on the size and profile of the school, rather than the number of students, the government should also consider offering a hot lunch to all students,” she added.

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