A Co Donegal school could lose half of its teachers under Government proposals, it was claimed today.
Scoil Cholmcille in Glengad has six teachers – and may be reduced to three.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue has hit out at the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn for his “unfair treatment” of rural schools.
The Donegal North East TD has said disadvantaged schools in rural communities have lost out in the review of the cuts to DEIS schools announced in the budget.
Deputy McConalogue said: “I believe that Minister Quinn has treated rural schools like Scoil Colmcille, Glengad completely unfairly. The Minister admitted he made a mistake in the Budget by cutting staffing levels at DEIS schools across the country.
“He spent weeks reviewing his mistake, but still failed to reverse it outright. Instead, he made a partial reversal by allowing some disadvantaged urban primary schools to keep their staff. It appears that rural disadvantaged schools are still facing cuts in September.
“As it currently stands Scoil Colmcille Glengad will lose almost 50% of its teaching staff, going from 5 classroom teachers and one resource teachers to a 3 teacher school with a part-time resource teacher. Parents are understandably upset as they genuinely believed that the Government realised their mistake and would reverse it. They made submissions to local Government Oireachtas members in good faith, only to result in no change in the cuts they are facing.
“All schools on the DEIS programme, urban and rural, had to go through the same process to secure their current staffing levels. It is seems terribly unfair that only some urban schools are seeing the benefit of the Government’s review of the cuts.
“Glengad and more than half of the primary schools in Co Donegal will also be hit by increases to the pupil teacher ratio for small schools across the country. Under an announcement in the Budget, Glengad will lose a teacher based because the school’s current enrolment levels are one pupil below the 83 pupil cut off. The school will have 89 pupils enrolled from this September on, so will have the right to appeal the cut. Other schools in the firing line will have to prove that pupil numbers will rise significantly in the coming years if they wish to retain current staffing levels.
“All of this is just another example of this Government’s anti-rural agenda. Rural communities have been targeted by Labour and Fine Gael for far greater cuts to resources and amenities. Rural dwellers are facing cuts to local garda resources, cuts to community hospitals and nursing homes, septic tank charges, increases in school transport charges and now the prospect of significant cuts to their local school. This is deeply unfair and rural Ireland will not put up with it.”