Powys has “too many schools” to keep them all running, a meeting has heard, as a senior councillor admitted that a quarter of the 86 schools in Powys are struggling financially.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Finance Panel on Monday, 8 July councillors went through the budget out turn report for the last financial year which shows that schools drew on £5.804 million from their reserves.

The report also shows financial problems for secondary schools which are £4.498 overspent by the end of March .

This is £3.2 million worse than their position at the end of March 2023.

Finance Panel chairman and Conservative group leader Cllr Aled Davies said: “The deficits are in the high schools where there is real pressure.

“High school governors will appreciate the challenges as we see reduction of staff and options available.

“They will have to reduce costs by £3 million while facing increased teaching costs.”

Director of corporate services, Jane Thomas said: “We’re still waiting for the teachers’ pay award to be finalised for September so that is a key factor for schools budgets as we move through this year.

“We have had historic deficits across some schools and we continue to work with those schools to bring their budgets back to the baseline funding they receive.”

Schools transformation manager Marianne Evans said that “reviews” and “deep dives” were being done with some high schools to understand why they are in this position.

Ms Evans added that there is a need to “escalate” the school transformation programme which would require “difficult decisions” from Cabinet members over several years.

Ms Evans said: “Unfortunately the reality is we have too many schools to maintain and keep running.”

Finance portfolio holder Labour’s Cllr David Thomas said: “When we look at our schools 75 per cent of them are managing perfectly well within the funding they are provided and then 25 per cent are struggling to differing degrees.

“I’m sure the deep dives will; allow us to get to a position where all schools are delivering a balanced budget.”

“I’m confident we can get there.”