‘Severe’ budget cuts proposed for schools

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Fundamental changes to how individual annual school budgets are calculated will have a negative impact on many school in the Larne borough.

That was the stark warning from east Antrim MLA Roy Beggs after it was recently revealed that a large number of schools across the province would be receiving less money following a revision to the Common Funding Scheme.

Mr Beggs claimed that primary schools will be particularly hit, with only Moyle PS seeing a “slight increase” in funding.

The Ulster Unionist representative said: “Local schools definitely need to be aware of what the Department of Education is proposing.

“Following a raft of changes to how every schools annual budget is calculated, known as the Common Funding Formula, large numbers of local primaries and post primaries are going to be hit from next year.

“I have had sight of the hypothetical reworked budget for 2013-2014 had it been based on the revised calculations and it is clear that had these cuts been brought in this year they would have had a devastating impact on local schools and parents.

“Using this year’s figures as a benchmark it is clear that when the changes are brought in from next April the cuts will be severe.”

Figures released by the North Eastern Education and Library Board show that Larne High School stood to lose almost £24,000 from its budget, with St Anthony’s Primary losing £17,767.

The budgets at Linn, Cairncastle, Toreagh, Olderfleet and St MacNissis primary schools faced being reduced by over £7,000.

Seaview and Ballycarry PS both stood to lose over £6,000, while the budgets at Kilcoan and Larne and Inver PS were to be reduced by about £5,000 each.

Over £4,000 would be taken off the budet at St Johns PS, while Carnlough and Upper Ballyboley primary schools would both be losing out by about £3,000.

Meanwhile, Glynn, Carnalbanagh and Mullaghdubh primary schools also lose faced cuts in the region of £2,000 each.

However, there would be some winners under the revised scheme, with St Killian’s College benefitting to the tune of more than £21,000.

Larne Grammar School’s budget would also increase by £10,000, and Moyle Primary School would have its budget raised by about £1,400.

St Anthony’s Nursery School would also have a financial boost of £3,000.

Mr Beggs said the Department did not provided figures for Corran Integrated PS.

He concluded: “I am urging people to respond to this consultation, which runs until October 17, and call for a new formula which does not cut the budget of most schools.”