Northern Ireland

NI schools budget deficit over £10m

Mervyn Storey
Image caption The chair of the education committee tabled the question on the education boards' deficit

The total budget deficit for schools in Northern Ireland stands at more than £10m.

All five education board areas are in the red for the last year that full figures were available.

The figures emerged in answer to an assembly question from the chair of the education committee Mervyn Storey.

Education Minister John O'Dowd provided a breakdown of the 2009/10 budget deficit in primary schools and post-primary schools.

The total deficit was £10,457,526.

The largest deficit was in the Belfast Education and Library Board area with a shortfall of almost £5m.

The lowest deficit was £595,473 in the Western Education and Library Board.

The North Eastern Education and Library Board reported a budget gap of £2,116,847, the South Eastern Board £1,012,160 and the Southern Board £1,995,736.

Mr Storey said he was "astounded" that the sizable deficit was allowed to develop and was to ask the minister how it will be addressed.

"We cannot allow schools to continue to build up such deficits," said the DUP MLA.

"Someone will have to pay for this. Why have we allowed ourselves to get into this position?

"It's taxpayers money and with all the control the department has i am amazed that something has not been done about it. It's bad financial management."