Concerns have been raised after it was revealed that Flintshire’s secondary schools are facing debts of £1.6m.
Six of the county’s 11 secondary schools are currently facing a deficit and the situation could grow worse unless extra funding is allocated by central government.
Earlier this year Flintshire Council took the decision to increase council tax by 6.7 per cent in order to protect school budgets.
The situation was described by one councillor as a ‘burgeoning crisis’ and he called on the authority to take action.
Speaking at a meeting today, Thursday 12 July, Cllr Patrick Heesom said:
“The pressures that are on our schools at the moment are escalating dramatically. Six out of 11 secondary schools are in deficit and the prospect is not good.
This is not a new problem, it’s been accumulating for a number of years.
However, we’ve ended up in this situation it has happened and I think we need to tackle it.”
However, Flintshire’s chief executive Colin Everett said the council had done as much as it could to protect budgets, including by implementing one of the largest council tax hikes in the UK.
He warned that even more pressure could be placed on schools unless more money is forthcoming from the UK and Welsh governments.
Mr Everett said:
“On schools, nobody is disputing this; just look at what we’ve all done to protect school budgets.
You all took the courageous decision to increase council tax in order to protect school budgets.
This will only be resolved by adequate national funding. We’re doing a lot of work with schools around the risks and consequences.
The minister in Cardiff has been presented with our case on education and parts of England are in an even worse situation than us. If we think we can resolve this locally via our budget, we can’t.”
A report to councillors also revealed that one recent pay award had added to the pressure on budgets.
“The National Joint Council pay award has had a disproportionate effect on special schools because of the high number of support staff employed and this has been identified as a cost pressure.
The teacher’s pay award is yet to be agreed nationally if there is no additional funding from government to cover the cost of an increase there will be a significant financial impact on schools.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter.