Councillors argue over future of EDC schools

A row over schools has broken out between East Dunbartonshire Council leaders and the Scottish National Party Group.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders have called on SNP councillors to come clean on their plans to close and merge primary schools.

Conservative leader Billy Hendry and LibDem leader Ashay Ghai claim the SNP leader Councillor Ian Mackay would like to see further school mergers, but when they asked him which schools, he refused to name them.

Councillor Billy Hendry said: “The cat is out of the bag. Councillor Mackay’s failed to reveal SNP policy on the schools for three years. He should explain which ones he wants to merge.”

Councillor Ashay Ghai said: “We’ve been asking the SNP group to provide their alternative for years and it turns out they have none. Instead they simply want to start the process from the beginning again but - worse still - they know what mergers they’d propose. They need to come clean to our parental body.”

Councillor Ian Mackay said: “I’m disappointed by the junior members of the Labour-led administration and their tactic of personalising and misrepresenting us on every subject. They have yet again displayed contempt for everybody who does not agree with them.

“We seek a better outcome for all the primary schools in East Dunbartonshire.

“They do not appear to understand their own capital budget proposals which requires them to make a further six primary school closures and mergers in two years to fulfil their 10 year plan.

“It’s now been conceded by all that the cost of borrowing will exceed the potential revenue savings in the current and proposed mergers so overall revenue savings will not be generated.

“It has also been impossible to demonstrate educational benefits and for many children whose primary school will close significant disadvantage will occur.

“The 10 year capital programme makes no provision for investment in the 30 primary schools not currently included in the PSIP proposals. There has been NO capital investment in these schools since before 2007 so this will mean that most of EDC’s primary schools will be left to deteriorate over 17 years.”

Council leader Rhondda Geekie, said: “Labour councillors also want this information as time and again they are criticised by the SNP for not being open and not listening to the public.

“This latest revelation by the SNP Leader now supporting mergers but only involving schools he can’t name is hypocritical and goes against every argument from his group in previous debates.”