Almost one in ten Scottish schools finished deficit last year, with total spending topping £5.7million, shocking new figures show.
Of Scotland’s 2,461 state schools, 238 ended the 2021/22 school year in the red.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats, who obtained the figures, said it was “shocking” to see how many schools were struggling with budget pressures.
MSP Willie Rennie said: “We know that parents are being asked to contribute out of pocket to fund schools, that schools are considering closing early and that subjects are being dropped from the curriculum.”
Aberdeenshire reported 60 schools with a deficit, the largest deficit of any local authority in the country, amounting to more than £2,228,000.
In the neighboring city of Aberdeen, there were 21 schools that reported a total deficit of more than £420,000, details released under Freedom of Information Acts were announced, while in Dumfries and Galloway 22 schools recorded a total deficit of more than £633,000.
Edinburgh City Council ran a deficit in just seven schools, but this amounted to £438,000.
And in the Scottish Borders, 22 schools together ran a deficit of more than £558,000.
Mr Rennie said an “ongoing and acrimonious” pay dispute with teachers had caused “quantifiable damage” to the relationship between the teaching profession and the SNP government.
A series of strikes resulted in schools across Scotland being closed because teachers failed to pay their salaries. But an agreement was reached in March that would see most teachers receive a 14.6 percent pay rise through January 2024.
Mr Rennie said: “Now that an agreement has finally been reached, ministers need to ensure schools, teachers and students have the resources they need to thrive.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The provision of education is the responsibility of local authorities who manage their own budgets.”
They added: “The Scottish Government has increased the resources available to local government by more than £793m for 2023-24, a real increase of £376m or 3% compared to 2022-23 budget figures. “
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