Article from the Sept 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

Schools face massive budget cuts

THE SOUTH Eastern and Belfast Education and Library Boards have been rocked by a massive cash shortfall, and have submitted accounts that show deficits.

By Brian Booth

Over the summer it was revealed that a combination of government funding cuts and long term cash shortfalls has left the SEELB short at least 5.66 million and the BELB at least 4.5 million in this year's budget.

This shortfall is going to be felt in the new school term when children with special education needs will be turned away or refused the resources they need. Redundancies are looming and schools in Belfast and Co. Down are facing a winter of chaos.

The government's policy of under-funding the education service is the source of the problem in education.

The local political parties failed to tackle the government's policies when the Assembly was up and running. Now that failure by them is being felt by parents and staff in schools.

In the SEELB the unions, UNISON and NIPSA, have reacted with a policy of no cuts in services, no cuts in terms and conditions and no cuts in jobs.

The unions have demanded that the government steps in with additional funding to support essential services and have made clear that if the government refuses and decides to run-down Board services, they will respond with all-out industrial action. The rubicon is "compulsory redundancy".

The situation could rapidly degenerate as the other Education Boards all face similar problems next year.

Schools face massive budget cuts

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