Schools face £27m deficit

SCHOOLS in the Lurgan and Craigavon area face a £27m backlog in maintenance, according to information received by SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly (pictured right).

Figures furnished to the SDLP Deputy Leader by the Department of Education reveal a massive multi-million deficit

Mrs Kelly lambasted the Education Minister saying the backlog ‘in schools maintenance in the constituency is evidence that schools are deteriorating on John O’Dowd’s watch in the area whilst the local construction industry is on its knees’.

Ms Kelly obtained the figures through a written Assembly question to the minister.

She said: “Over the past few years there has been a great demand for jobs, particularly within the construction industry. This constituency relies heavily on the construction industry.

“There are a number of small businesses which have closed within this constituency and took with it many jobs from the area. I’m not saying that this maintenance work would have saved every construction job in the area but they certainly would have gone a long way to prolonging jobs and helping to garner some hope for the local economy.

“Whilst the minister is pressing ahead with school reports that fail to take into account demographics and whilst the transfer issue shows no sign of an outcome, the minister is allowing schools in Upper Bann to deteriorate. Many of these schools will continue to suffer after the sustainable school reports.

“Six schools within this constituency have a maintenance backlog of over one million pounds. Think of what that would have done not only for our local schools, to be housed in buildings fit for purpose, where students have pride in their surroundings and the hard-pressed local construction industry.”

Education Minister John O’Dowd told the Mail: “Since taking on the role of Minister for Education I have visited schools across the north. The common factor across the estate has been the clear need for considerable investment in infrastructure. Unfortunately, however, the need for investment far exceeds the funding available. While I would like to be in a position to fund everything that needs doing now, I must work within the budget available. This means difficult decisions on future investment plans.

“The area planning process currently being undertaken will determine the future pattern of provision in each area and when that process has been completed we will have a clearer picture of how the schools estate should look going into the future.

“Earlier this year I was pleased to announce that 13 new school builds in the primary and post-primary sectors would go ahead and I hope to be in a position to make further capital investment announcements in due course. At that time I also announced the establishment of a new Schools Enhancement Programme. This programme will make available funding of up to £4million for any individual project which is aimed at refurbishing or extending existing schools.

“I realise that for every school announced as progressing there are many more in need of investment. The budget settlement the Executive was presented with has limited the funding I have available and has prevented me from progressing all the schemes I would have liked. For those schools not announced for new builds, the new enhancement programme offers an opportunity to add to and improve existing facilities. This may prove a more accessible option.

“I have taken clear and decisive action to ensure that we effectively use the capital available in the next number of years and ensure we can maximise the benefits for children across the north.”

THE current maintenance backlog in schools in the Upper Bann constituency is as follows:

Bleary Primary School Primary School Controlled £12,395.00

Bleary Primary School School Meals Accommodation £3,500.00

Brownlow College School Meals Accommodation £226,770.00

Brownlow College Secondary School Integrated £196,285.00

Carrick Primary School (Lurgan) Primary School Controlled £396,485.00

Carrick Primary School (Lurgan) School Meals Accommodation £21,900.00

Ceara School School Meals Accommodation £1,100.00

Ceara School Special School Controlled £32,410.00

Ceara Special School Special School Controlled £18,825.00

Craigavon Senior High School Secondary School Controlled £722,631.00

Dickson Primary School Primary School Controlled £175,555.00

Dickson Primary School School Meals Accommodation £16,000.00

Donacloney Primary School Primary School Controlled £100,920.00

Donacloney Primary School School Meals Accommodation £ 10,450.00

Drumgor Primary School Primary School Controlled £276,225.00

Drumgor Primary School School Meals Accommodation £11,470.00

Drumnamoe Nursery School Nursery School Maintained £230.00

King`s Park Primary School Primary School Controlled £837,940.00

King`s Park Primary School School Meals Accommodation £3,650.00

Lismore Comprehensive School Meals Accommodation £26,950.00

Lismore Comprehensive School Meals Accommodation (no.2) £35,210.00

Lismore Comprehensive Secondary School Maintained £1,818,980.00

Lurgan College Grammar School Controlled £927,975.00

Lurgan College School Meals Accommodation £34,290.00

Lurgan Junior High School School Meals Accommodation £55,500.00

Lurgan Junior High School Secondary School Controlled £1,146,450.00

Lurgan Model Primary School Primary School Controlled £163,285.00

Lurgan Model Primary School School Meals Accommodation £22,400.00

Maralin Village Primary School Primary School Controlled £2,425.00

Maralin Village Primary School School Meals Accommodation £2,290.00

Moyallon Primary School Primary School Controlled £3,050.00

Moyallon Primary School School Meals Accommodation £1,220.00

St Anthony`s Primary School Primary Schools Maintained £99,130.00

St Anthony`s Primary School School Meals Accommodation £16,875.00

St Brendan`s Primary School Primary Schools Maintained £248,025.00

St Brendan`s Primary School School Meals Accommodation £2,800.00

St Francis Primary School Primary Schools Maintained £1,085,265.00

St Francis Primary School School Meals Accommodation £5,485.00

St Mary`s Girls’ Junior High School School Meals Accommodation £74,500.00

St Mary`s Girls’ Junior High School Secondary School Maintained £517,052.00

St Mary`s Primary School (Derrytrasna) Primary Schools Maintained £110,650.00

St Mary`s Primary School (Derrytrasna) School Meals Accommodation £19,560.00

St Michael’s Grammar School Grammar School Voluntary £1,907,165.00

St Patrick`s Primary School (Aghacommon) Primary Schools Maintained £141,650.00

St Patrick`s Primary School (Aghacommon) School Meals Accommodation £2,700.00

St Patrick`s Primary School (Magheralin) Primary Schools Maintained £171,635.00

St Paul`s Junior High School (Lurgan) School Meals Accommodation £27,050.00

St Paul`s Junior High School (Lurgan) Secondary School Maintained £436,450.00

St Teresa`s Primary School (Lurgan) Primary Schools Maintained £203,940.00

St Teresa`s Primary School (Lurgan) School Meals Accommodation £6,250.00

Tannaghmore Primary School Primary Schools Maintained £702,205.00

Tannaghmore Primary School School Meals Accommodation £4,910.00

Tullygally Primary School Primary School Controlled £158,540.00

Tullygally Primary School School Meals Accommodation £18,450.00

Waringstown Primary School Primary School Controlled £22,105.00

Waringstown Primary School School Meals Accommodation £1,300.00