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Principal warns St Ronanís facing Ďdevastating cutsí

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Principal warns St Ronanís facing Ďdevastating cutsí thumbnailST Ronan's PS principal, Mr Kevin Donaghy.

THE principal of St Ronan's Primary School has written to parents to warn that the could be faced with paying for after-school activities and music provision.

Kevin Donaghy says that the school is facing a "crisis" unless an education budget can be agreed - or else "devastating cuts" will have to be imposed.

In a letter to parents he slated politicians for failing to "put aside old animosities and work for the benefit of our children".

"It was widely hoped that the different political parties would, for the betterment of all, be able to put aside their differences," he wrote.

"Unfortunately we see that this continued failure to reach an agreement means that education will now not have a budget."

The parents of around 400 children received the letter, which was also shared on social media, entitled: "schools in financial crisis due to NI Executive failure to set a budget for education" - has been sent to the parents of all 390 pupils in the school.

Mr Donaghy said that in 2016-17 the school had made savings of £30,000. But he is now having to make further cuts of £46,000 for the forthcoming school year.

"The amount of money we have to run and maintain the school has been dramatically decreased," he wrote.

This means, according to the principal, that special education support and classroom assistant support would have to be reduced.

"We will have to ask you to financially contribute to programs such as after-school programmes and our music, which we as a school have paid in the past," he told parents.

"We can no longer afford to do this."

Spanish lessons for pupils will also have to be paid for by parents if the school parents association cannot raise the money to pay for them.

He added that St Ronan's will get less funding as fewer than 30% of its pupils are entitled to free school meals.

"The money we now receive from the Department of Education will not cover our expenditure," he wrote.

"Within three years, unless funding is dramatically increased, we as a school will be in substantial deficit."

The school receives over £1million in funding each year from the Department of Education and has been able to remain within budget in recent years.

However, according to a separate document from the Department, the school is set to be in the red by £47,000 in the 2018-19 school year.

Mr Donaghy concluded his letter by urging parents to support the Parents' Association, including an upcoming sponsored cycle; writing to political leaders and locally elected representatives in support for education; and asking anyone who is entitled to free school meals to apply for them.

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