Prevent Flintshire County Council from passing School Budget cuts.
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There are an increasing number of parents, teachers, support staff, members of the public and even children who are looking to voice their opinions on the proposed funding cuts to our schools and I feel that simply passifying with lip service and worse still passing on the blame at this time would fuel the anger felt by most people further, so a transparent, true and honest response to the important questions being raised needs to be a priority at the next open meeting on Tuesday 20th Feb.
We are all well aware that if the proposed 'cash flat settlement' is passed we will be losing valued and essential members of staff across the county, decreasing the quality of provision for our children, whilst the pressure is still on to achieve results, which will undoubtedly mean an increase in staff sickness due to stress and anxiety to those left, not to mention the financial crisis of the poor people who will be losing their jobs. Surely this will put further strain on education, benefits and health services which are already at crisis point? There’s only so far the smoke screeens and corporate scripts can go before the whole thing implodes leaving us in an even worse position we are in now.
Members of the Headteachers Federation have already warned that this will lead to an 'area of irreparable damage' and 'catastrophe' for our schools.
I implore those at Flintshire County Council to think about the longer term effects this will have on everybody, including its own members, and take the stronger position of actually owning up to budgetary mistakes and over spending and showing the public clear strategies being implemented to fix them that do not involve simply passing the problem onto the schools.
The most important question to be addressed at this time is why Flintshire County Council does not spend to the full SSA level as most other councils in Wales do? What happens with the percentage not spent? Why are there so many members paid large salaries, expenses and care allowances when our school budgets are being cut?
This does not sit well with schools, knowing that there is a great deal of money in reserves when we are told we are not allowed to do this. Our school has a carry forward of less than 1% as we are doing as we are told, and this means that we have no reserves ourselves to try and save our staff and protect provision and standards for our children.
Suggested alternatives to school budget cuts that we would like to see implemented:
Can the council spend 50% of its reserves to bridge the funding gap for 18/19? We are all very aware of FCC’s assets as well as the reserves as we can see the empty buildings and land and know that 2/3rds of County Hall are unoccupied.
2) Can the council withdraw from GWE as many heads feel that this does not provide value for money at all and the large figures spent here could be delegated to schools as a priority.
3) Can we use expected council tax increases more efficiently to protect our schools and other council services (although this would be detrimental to a lot of families including my own who are already struggling to make ends meet I feel that it is our collective responsibility to work together to try and offset the massive amount of mis-spending that has gone on from UK Government right the way down to individual County Councils, without pushing the responsibility to sort the problem out onto the schools themselves)
As parents, teachers, support staff and students we have voices that we would like to be heard as the decisions being made by our council have an impact on us all and we believe the decision to accept the cash flat settlement is going to cause more problems than it solves and feel that there are alternatives to be explored.
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