Council blasts planned school budget changes

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Larne councillors have voiced their “grave concerns” over plans by the Education Minister that could lead to many school budgets being slashed.

A large number of schools across the province face the prospect of receiving less money following a proposed revision to the Common Funding Scheme, which determines how annual budgets are calculated.

In the Larne borough, schools stand to lose more than £120,000.

Figures released by the North Eastern Education and Library Board show that Larne High School would be hit hardest with a loss of £24,000, followed by St Anthony’s PS, which would have its budget axed by £17,767.

At Larne Council’s public services committee meeting on Monday, Councillor Gregg McKeen put forward a motion that the council should oppose the plans and urge Education Minister John O’Dowd to rethink his proposals.

Cllr McKeen added: “The education of children in the Larne area is going to suffer because of this. As a council we should be fighting for schools in our area.”

However, while Cllr Brian Dunn said he agreed with the sentiments of the motion, he felt the issue was “nothing to do” with Larne Council and was a matter for local MLAs to fight.

Cllr Dunn said members should instead focus on a pending legal case which he claimed “could cost the council a lot of money”.

The motion was carried.