COUNCILLORS are being urged to "grasp the nettle" and deal with the problems facing education funding as many schools budgets are projected to have fallen off a cliff by 2021.

Projections for school budgets by the end of the 2020/21 financial year show a vast number of Powys School in the red and all Secondary School running huge deficits.

The largest projections are for Brecon High School (2,588,202) Welshpool High School (£1,175,953) the new Ysgol Calon Cymru for Llandrindod and Builth Wells(£531,197).

By the end of the election cycle - both the Secondary and Middle schools could be running over £6.5m in the red.

Schools are being helped to try and balance the books with experts helping them including Human Resources staff to deal with redundancy issues.

A new funding formula for schools which will provide more fairness will be out to consultation this autumn but will not be the panacea that cures all the ills of school funding as Acting Chief Executive Mohammad Mehmet, warned : "This is the other major challenge the Council has to it's finances.

"In the secondary phase so many of them are in deficit and no early signs of that being managed into line.

"We need to dampen the expectation that the funding review will deal with the problem of overspending."

Cllr David Jones, was the lead member on education at the former Scrutiny B Committee spoke to the Cabinet: "We are one of the highest funders of individual pupils in Wales and we still have schools racking up big deficits.

"We've known for six years that the problem is becoming worse I urge the cabinet to grasp the nettle and deal with it."

Cllr Stephen Hayes, cabinet member for Adult Services, going through the projections said: "The tables show the projected finances over a four year period, by 20/21 the number of school in deficit will have doubled. There are already eight out of our 12 high schools submitting deficit budgets.

"We need to take on board this is not just and education but a corporate problem this is a service that threatens the authority's finances.

Education cabinet member Cllr Myfanwy Alexander highlighted two issues that were creating problems for the school budgets are trans[port and children with additional learning needs (ALN), saying that some with ALN would thrive in mainstream schools.

Cllr Alexander also went on to slam schools who did not have the: "will to balance the budget."

Cllr Alexander: "There is a culture of excuses of obfuscation, we should be putting financial probity at the top of the list

"We should make the passing of unbalanced budgets unacceptable."

The cabinet passed the report that recommended, all planned surplus budgets, a clawback mechanism for those holding more than the agreed surplus, planned deficit budgets be allowed, note all those in an unlicenced deficit position, financial surgeries continue and existing loans are monitored.