Local schools told to brace themselves for tough times ahead

Newtownabbey councillor Lynn Frazer.
Newtownabbey councillor Lynn Frazer.

SCHOOLS across the borough could face severe financial difficulties over the next few years, local Education Board officials have warned.

The North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) revealed this week that it faces cuts amounting to over £3 million in its central funding allocation from the Government for the 2011-12 financial year.

At a recent meeting to discuss the financial position of the education service in the North East, the Department of Education’s savings targets for the Board were labelled “neither realistic nor viable.”

At the special meeting in Antrim the Board drew up a budget which includes details of where it hopes to use the £85 million in funds allocated by the Department of Education in a realistic way to provide its range of services. The money allocated is 6.25 per cent less than the previous year.

The Board hopes to make its £3 million of savings by spreading the cutbacks across several sectors. However, a number of key areas will still be severely affected, with the maintenance, Youth Service, school library service, school meals and transport budgets all being reduced.

Councillor Lynn Frazer, Newtownabbey’s representative on the NEELB, commented: “I understand that we are in a difficult time financially, but the cut to the education budget is significant and will most definitely impact on services both at the frontline and important support services.”

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