DEIS review results will damage rural schools – Crowe
The Sinn Féin education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has accused the government of targeting mainstream and small rural schools as a result the recommendations contained in yesterday’s review of DEIS schools.
Deputy Crowe said:
“The 3.5% reduction in the school capitation grant is a further attack on rural schools that will place many at risk from closure. It is clear that the Government’s supposed concessions on restoring posts for some DEIS schools are to be off-set by a further cut in the cash income for schools, leaving many of them unable to pay for basic utilities such as heating and lighting.
“Even the Government’s most conservative estimates concede that approximately 73 schools nationally will lose at least one teacher from September 2012. This will force many small schools of four teachers or less to close, robbing local communities from across the State of a vital part of their identity.
“In many cases, in rural communities, small schools are the last remaining element of organised public service as Garda stations, post offices and grocery shops disappear one by one.
“While we welcome the review’s decision to retain 235 DEIS Band One and DEIS Band Two Posts, it is clear that the Minister has implemented measures that appear to rob Peter to pay Paul.
“There is a real danger that the needs of one child are being pitted against another and school against school. Every possible support must be given to protect viable rural schools from closure.
“The outcome of the DEIS review, and the Minister’s determination to spread cuts across the primary and post primary sectors is disastrous for many schools but will have the most severe impact on small schools and will devastate rural communities.”