€3 million Laois school prefab bill

MORE than €3 million of taxpayers money has been spent renting prefabs for schools in Laois over the past four years.

MORE than €3 million of taxpayers money has been spent renting prefabs for schools in Laois over the past four years.

While schools in Portlaoise and Portarlington are in urgent need of new buildings, 17 schools are forced to rent prefabs in Laois. The average annual rent cost per school is more than €32,000.

Figures from the Department of Education also put Laois near the top of the table for money spent renting temporary classrooms from the four years to 2008.

Of the counties that border Laois, only in Kildare was there more money spent on prefabs in the past four years.

The figures supplied to the Dail show nearly half the bill in Laois was spent in 2008 on temporary accommodation for children.

Rent cost dropped to €660k in 2009 and €480k in 2010 but went up again last year to more than €550k

The figures were supplied in the Dail by the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn.

He said the State pays but schools agree the rent

“My Department provides 100% grant aid towards the provision of temporary school accommodation to the management authorities of education providers where it is established that a need for such temporary accommodation exists.

“Generally, where schools require temporary accommodation, the Board of Management is responsible for acquiring such temporary accommodation and the rental contract is between the Board of Management and the supplying contractor,” he said.

Minister Quinn has promised new schools in Laois but the school that is most dependent on prefabs, Scoil Bhride Knockmay will have at least three more years of prefabs.