Flintshire 6.7% council tax hike to help struggling schools

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Chairwoman of Sandycroft Primary School Jane Bellis said parents could help the council as it faced tough choices.

Council tax bills in Flintshire will rise by 6.7% in a bid to ensure schools get the funding they need.

Head teachers across the county had been told to expect no extra cash this year.

And it led to warnings from both teachers and parents that it would lead to unsustainable cuts - hitting statutory services.

But Flintshire council unanimously approved a tax hike on Tuesday in order to give schools cash.

The increase for 2018/19 is made up of a 5% rise to balance the council's books with a further 1.7% increase on top to help schools.

It will see council tax for a Band D property in the county rise from £1,104 for 2017/18 to £1,178 - an annual increase of £74.

Flintshire's chief executive Colin Everett said the rise was "not excessive".

Council leader Aaron Shotton said it needed to be seen in the context of council tax rates across Wales and those over the border in England.

He insisted Flintshire residents' council tax bill would "still be one of the lowest in Wales".

The move follows mounting concern in the council and among education staff.

The council had already warned that plans to freeze school budgets placed education and youth services in a red "severe impact" risk category.

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A budget freeze would be "heartbreaking" says Nannerch headteacher Jennie Downes

Nannerch primary school headteacher Jennie Downes said she simply had nothing left to cut if the budgets did not increase - and it would hit statutory services, such as special educational needs provision.

"The reality is things that are statute, that we have responsibility for here in the school, we're not going to be able to provide for," she said.

"As a professional who came into education because I cared about teaching - I wanted to make things better - I'm a parent myself - it's heartbreaking.

"It's heartbreaking for your colleagues, it's heartbreaking to see it for your children and for their community."