Schools Warned Not to Sit on Cash; Pounds 66m Goes Unspent in Region over a Year

Article excerpt

Byline: By NICOLA JUNCAR Education Reporter

SCHOOLS are being warned to flash their cash or risk having to hand it back.

While dozens of schools in the North East struggle with debt, others have managed to hoard surplus funds adding up to more than pounds 66m, Government figures show.

Following the 2006/7 academic year, 91 North East schools were in the red.

County Durham was the worst-hit local authority, with 33 schools in deficit, followed by 14 in Northumberland, 13 in North Tyneside, 11 in Sunderland and 10 in both South Tyneside and Newcastle.

The total amount of debt added up to pounds 3,833,464 and Gateshead was the only local education authority in our region in the black.

However, 885 schools from the North East were left with surplus funds and 399 of these had what the Government calls "excess surplus" cash. These are secondary schools which had more than 5% left from the total income and primary schools with more than 8%.

Despite having the highest number of schools in debt, other schools in County Durham had the most surplus funds, adding up to more than pounds 15.8m.

Newcastle schools had more than pounds 8.9m; Northumberland had almost pounds 11m; South Tyneside pounds 5m; Sunderland pounds 9.5m; North Tyneside pounds 4.2m and Gateshead pounds 11.6m.

This means that in just one year, pounds 66,173,304 which should have been spent in our schools wasn't.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families says revenue funding is for pay and school-running costs and should not be kept aside. …