The government is withholding £413m in schools funding from councils to pay for academy-related services estimated at less than £60m, according to the Local Government Association.
An LGA briefing on the Education Bill, seen by LGC, argues that the “central services” funding being withheld from councils’ formula grant is out of all proportion to the real costs of those services and will “leave council tax payers more than £350m out of pocket”.
It argues that even if the number of academy schools rises from the current figure of 408 by the government’s predicted 200 a year, the real cost of central functions at opted-out schools will be “well below £60m over the next two years”.
The LGA also disputes the savings the “up to £103,000 a year” savings the government predicts councils can expect to make from no-longer providing support services to opted-out schools, saying that in many cases savings to councils would be “negligible”.
According to the briefing: “An alternative proposal would be to halt the top-slicing of formula grant to fund the central costs of academy schools, which is indiscriminate and does not take into account the number of academy schools in a local authority area, and instead recoup the costs from the individual authorities on a case-by-case basis as new academies are established.