Principals offered assurances over school budget surpluses

Sammy Wilson MP.
Sammy Wilson MP.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has welcomed Education Authority assurances that schools will not have their budgets refused because they include the draw down of money from surpluses.

There had been alarm that scores of schools had had their budgets refused on this basis.

The DUP representative said: “ When I was Finance Minister I had made an arrangement whereby schools could draw down their surpluses when they wished and could also save money where it was possible so that money could be carried over for future years.

“I have been given an assurance that this system will still be maintained and that schools will be able to draw down money which they had accumulated from previous years. Very often schools save this money because they wish to be prudent with their budgets and also to plan for the future and the ending of such an arrangement would have resulted in inefficient expenditure in schools simply to spend money rather than finish up losing it altogether.

“Assurances have now been given by the Department of Finance and the Education Authority that no school will be denied access to its surpluses, either this year or in the following year and this should help some schools to balance their budgets and also to be able to continue to provide services which they were in danger of losing.

“I am sure that this decision will be welcomed by many school governors and school principals and will be immensely important in protecting the services which schools provide, especially at a time when budgets are tight.