Rising costs and ‘voluntary contributions’ are serious obstacles for parents of school children - Kathleen Funchion
Speaking in the Dáil this evening on funding for education, Sinn Féin’s TD for Carlow/Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion said rising costs and increasing ‘voluntary contributions’ are serious obstacles for parents trying to send their children to school.
Teachta Funchion said;
“Voluntary contributions are often a minimum spend of 150 euros per child – a significant amount of money that many families do not have.
“Multi-annual increases to school capitation rates would potentially stop the need for voluntary contributions from parents.
“This Government has not committed to tackling the high costs associated with sending children to school. Many families struggle to meet the basic costs. The ‘free education system’ is a myth.
“Cuts to capitation grants in recent years mean parents are increasingly expected to bridge the gap in school funding – these contributions are often used for the basic running costs of a school such as electricity and heat – this is unacceptable.
“This heaped on top of costs of school books, uniforms, supplies, transport and lunches is pushing many families over the edge.
“All levels of education are important in a child’s life, but primary education we know is crucial for a child’s development. If their stability is already being challenged at such an early stage, through a difficulty in attending as a result of parents not being able to cover costs, this will inevitably have a knock on effect for their later educational prospects.
“Our party’s costed alternative budget proposed measures to increase school capitation rates by 2%, over and above demographics. This measure would have gone a long way in helping primary schools which rely so heavily on voluntary contributions.”