FLINTSHIRE Council has found more money for schools at the 11th hour.

The authority was ready to set a ‘cash flat’ budget for the county’s schools as it juggled its own budget for 2018/19.

But a campaign from headteachers, school staff and parents in the last few weeks against what they felt amounted to a three per cent to five per cent cut with inflation has prompted a re-think.

An extra £1.1 million was found after councillors and officers crunched the numbers over the weekend and met with headteachers on Monday night to find a late compromise.

The solution was found by dipping into reserves and proposing to increase council tax an extra 1.7 per cent than originally planned.

Minutes before yesterday’s budget meeting at County Hall in Mold, council leader Cllr Aaron Shotton and his deputy Cllr Bernie Attridge met with protestors outside, to explain the council had revised the schools budget and it had been approved by the cabinet.

Cllr Shotton said: “The recommendation is to increase council tax by another 1.7 per cent with another £1.1 million going back into the schools budget.

“This isn’t the end of the pressures but the budget will also see an increase in social care funding, and a significant reduction in other budgets for that.

“We are using reserves which is an option this time but not for the next one.”

Cllr Shotton added that more pressure needed to brought against the Westminster Government’s programme of austerity, and thanked the parents for their support and bringing the issue to the wider public interest.

Jane Bellis, chairman of governors at Sandycroft CP School, who led the campaign for more funding and attended County Hall with other parents, said she was satisfied with the outcome.

She said: “We are all between a rock and a hard place.

“The Westminster and Welsh Governments have a lot to answer for but communication between the schools, parents, governors and the council have not communicated properly.

“We have asked them (the council) if there is any more money they can spend.

“Flintshire Council are really up against it and managing the best way they can to free up reserves.

“A council tax rise will be really difficult for me as a parent but it’s a compromise to save our teachers, our staff, our schools.

“The council have got to manage budgets and can perhaps see a bigger picture looking ahead than we can, there are lots of different areas they have to balance.”

She added: “The response to the online petition was incredible, the number of people who supported it was a little bit of a surprise.

“The point of the petition was to make the council question if there was anything more they could do and we are pleased they have done that and come up with this solution.”

Flintshire Council agreed to the funding for schools when they voted on the budget.