New Funding Regime For Integrated School Property Costs

  • Wyatt Creech

The Minister of Education today announced the introduction of a new property funding regime for integrated schools to be implemented in the 1999 school year.

"The funding regime, which has been developed in consultation with the Association of Proprietors of Integrated Schools (APIS), will improve the delivery of resources to integrated schools for property maintenance. It will also move integrated schools onto a more even footing with other state schools," Mr Creech said.

Integrated schools are formerly independent schools that have integrated into the state system. About 81 percent are Catholic schools. The school property and buildings are independently owned and receive public funding for operating costs including salaries and property maintenance.

"Under existing Integration Agreements the Crown has an obligation to maintain an integrated school's premises while the school is part of the state education system," Mr Creech said. "The new regime meets this obligation by funding proprietors of integrated schools directly for all major maintenance. The level of funding will be determined by a formula based on the number of pupils in the school. Funding for minor maintenance will continue through the operations' grant.

"The Government expects all members of APIS to sign up to the new regime and that any outstanding property maintenance grievances will be settled before entering," Mr Creech said. "We have offered a one-off payment to members of APIS who have been party to the discussions, to help with the transition to the new regime and settle all outstanding property maintenance grievances.

"The maintenance of integrated school buildings has long been the source of dispute between integrated proprietors and the Government," Mr Creech said. "This new regime will settle the dispute once and for all."