Fianna Fáil representative in Castlebar Lisa Chambers has called on the Government to reconsider its decision to discriminate against schools that made sacrifices to start their own school book rental schemes. The local election candidate has accused the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn of punishing schools in Mayo that fundraised heavily, cut money from elsewhere and got into debt to establish book rental schemes to help parents out.
“I know many schools across Mayo that made huge sacrifices, cut other resources and made tough decisions to start a book rental scheme. They are being punished for their initiative and foresight. It’s deeply unfair,” Chambers said.
She added, “The vast majority of book rental schemes that are already in operation in Mayo schools still need significant investment. Some schools are still in the early stages of establishing a book rental scheme, others are set to see a significant rise in pupil numbers in the coming years and others simply couldn’t raise the funds for fully operation book rental scheme. These schools still need state support to facilitate fully functional book rental schemes. We are now in a situation where the schools that are ahead of the curve and put in their own funding to establish a book rental scheme will be left behind, while other schools receive government investment. It’s deeply unfair on the pupils and parents affected, particularly when so many parents were heavily involved in funding raising efforts to make rental schemes a reality and ease the financial burden in long-run.”
She concluded: “If the Education Minister truly believes in easing the burden on all parents, he needs to rethink the discriminatory element of his school book rental initiative.”