Dutch schools eat into their financial reserves

In the period 2006-2010, expenses in primary and secondary education rose more rapidly than revenues according to Statistics Netherlands. Although Dutch schools spent more in recent years than their allocated budgets allowed, there is still plenty of money in the school coffers.

School expenses rose more rapidly than revenues over the period 2006-2010. This is predominantly due to an increase in personnel costs by 21 percent. The number of full-time job equivalents increased by 2.5 percent and many teachers were upgraded to higher salary scales. Lastly, collectively negotiated (CAO) wages in education rose by 11 percent. The CAO wage increase was above the level of inflation over this period (7 percent).

In recent years, schools tended to spend more than they could afford. As a result, the number of school with large amounts of cash in the coffers was reduced. Schools are defined as financially sound, if their liquidity ranges between the so-called signal values 0.5 and 1.5. In 2010, 73 percent of schools in primary and secondary education had a liquidity level above 1.5 versus 77 percent in 2009.

In primary and secondary schools, 80 and 47 percent respectively had a liquidity level above 1.5. The difference between the two school categories is caused by the fact that primary schools generally have fewer pupils than secondary schools. Smaller schools often keep higher financial buffers to protect them against, for example, the effects of declining pupil numbers.

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