Concern over the Minor Works Grant for Primary Schools was raised at this week’s meeting of North Tipperary County Council. Fianna Fáil Councillor Seamus Hanafin told the meeting “our primary schools are already being run on a shoestring - there is no spare money, and now there is uncertainty over the payment of Minor Works Grant. The Department of Education issued a circular in June telling schools that the availability and level of the grant would be not be decided until the autumn. It is unacceptable that schools still haven’t been informed how much of a grant, if any, they will receive”.
The Minor Works Grant has been paid to schools since 1997 and is used on the physical infrastructure of the school or on items of furniture or equipment. “This is the money that is used to service the boiler, fix a broken window, paint a classroom or buy a new desk, it is the money used to keep the keep the school in proper repair and schools cannot survive without it”.
Cllr Hanafin went on to say that schools will have prepared budgets for the year in early September and it is very unfair that seven weeks into the new school year they still don’t know if this grant is going to be paid, “this is a large part of the funding for primary schools and this has huge implications for Boards of Management”.
There was widespread support and it was agreed that the council would formally write to the Department of Education to highlight the concerns raised and to request that the grant be paid in full and schools notified immediately. “It is very important that funding for schools is protected” Cllr Hanafin concluded.