Primary schools using much more of their budgets

Primary school classroom
Primary school classroom Photo: racorn/DepositPhotos

Primary schools are using their budgets much more. Last year the school boards had 5.9 million euros of their budgets left over at the end of the year. In 2017 it was just over 106 million euros, Trouw reports based on figures from education executive agency DUO.

Schools' tendency to not use their complete budget led to criticism last year. Ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science and Arie Slob for Primary- and Secondary Education called the left-over amount remarkable, given the fact that the education sector was demanding extra money to lower teachers' workloads. "Saving must not become a goal in itself", the Ministers wrote in a letter to parliament. "After all, it involves money intended for education."

The Education Inspectorate wrote a report stating that school boards are far too conservative in estimating their budget and underestimate their income. In March the PO-Raad, the council that represents the interests of schools in primary education, calculated that one in six schools had too much money that is not being used.

The PO-Raad therefore started calling on schools to use the money allocated to them. "That seems to be bearing fruit. The sector is increasingly gaining momentum financially", Rinda den Besten of the council said to Trouw. Though she added that the extra expenditure last year is largely due ot the fact that the sector invested 70 million euros in the new collective bargaining agreement concluded last year.