PRESS RELEASE: Fatal flaw in school closure plan

Released tonight, ARSN’s latest Press Release:

“Argyll & Bute Council’s plans to close 25 schools to save money contain a £9 million fatal flaw. The Scottish Government’s budget for 2010-11 offered council’s a reduced cut of 2.6% if they agreed to protect teacher’s jobs and pupil-teacher ratios in Primary 1, 2, and 3 classes.

“Argyll & Bute’s proposals involve the sacking of 43 teachers and will be in breach of the concordat’s conditions. This will therefore see its contribution from Holyrood cut by 6.4%, which means a crippling £9 million extra removed from the Council’s budget. This completely destroys the already collapsing financial case behind the schools closure plans.

“Delivering his budget John Swinney said that his agreement with COSLA froze
Council Tax and only reduced the Government’s contribution to local councils by 2.6% provided police officer numbers were maintained, pupil teacher ratios in Primary 1 to Primary 3 were not increased, and the number of teaching posts was protected. He added, “If councils choose not to accept the agreement, their funding from the Scottish Government will therefore fall not by 2.6% but by 6.4%.”

“In the case of Argyll & Bute Council such a decrease would amount to £9 million, blowing a huge hole in their 2010 -11 budget and threatening many council services. Fortunately the schools closure plan has yet to go out to consultation and councillors can still step back from the brink of the financial catastrophe that would occur if they break the concordat.

“For further information –
Argyll & Bute Council voted on 25th November to initiate the consultation
process required under the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 with a view to close 25 of Argyll & Bute’s 80 Primary Schools.

“The schools involved are Achahoish, Luss, Keills, St Keiran’s, Southend, Ardchonnel, Rosneath, Kilcreggan, Parklands, Toward, Glassary, Minard, Ardchattan, Achaleven, Barcaldine, North Bute, Lochdonhead, Strone, Kilmodan, Skipness, Rhunahaorine, Glenbarr, Kilchrenan, Ashfield, and Ulva.”

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