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Reaction to MP’s comment
JO Swinson thinks that councillors ‘missed a trick’ over the review of the primary school estate.
She then goes on to claim credit for herself, blame local councillors and forgets to make any mention whatsoever of the appalling self interest shown by East Dunbartonshire’s LibDem councillors.
Before elected members had even had sight of the ruling adminisration’s proposals for school mergers, which were to be debated at the Special Council meeting on March 27, one Bearsden LibDem councillor, Vaughan Moody, was distributing a letter in his ward claiming to have listened to his electorate and persuaded the administration to reverse their decision to close Bearsden Primary.
Firstly, this makes a mockery of the council’s decision making procedures when a councillor publicly announces a council decision a week before the meeting to take any such decision has been held.
Secondly, Councillor Moody in the letter he distributed claimed credit for saving Bearsden Primary when he himself and his LibDem council colleagues were jointly responsible for the administration proposal in the first place to merge Bearsden Primary with another school and move the school from its current site.
The SNP group had sought to continue consultation, look at alternative options and engage meaningfully with local school communities to try to find a way forward which would have community support.
Our amendment would have kept options open for Bishopbriggs schools, including the possibility of a merger between Woodhill and Wester Cleddens, as suggested by parents from Wester Cleddens, not Jo Swinson.
LibDem councillors chose not to listen and voted with the administration to oppose this view.
LibDem councillors changed their minds to protect Bearsden Primary, allegedly having listened to local opinion. They should similarly listen to the many protests across East Dunbartonshire and think again where many of their school merger plans are still extremely unpopular.
What’s good enough for Bearsden should be good enough right across East Dunbartonshire.
Jo Swinson should reflect on collective political responsibility and cannot distance herself from the actions of her LibDem councillors.
Councillor Anne McNair,
East Dunbartonshire Council
IN the full council meeting of the decision to axe schools, Councillor Geekie dismissed the Parent Council Forum rejection of no confidence in the IBP Report and EDC’s Interpretation of it.
So what Councillor Geekie effectively chose to do was to ignore a satutory body as in law that makes a representation of 15,386 pupils and their parents.
In a fully democratic vote, a clear message was delivered to EDC. This was ignored by Councillor Geekie and the administration and voted to proceed to statutory consultation.
Councillor Moody listened to Bearsden parents a week before a vote was cast, that’s an undemocratic process.
It is unbelievable that the parental involvement act was dismissed with parental involvement, as Councillor Geekie stated that there were nine abstaining from the motion. It still passed Councillor Geekie and I can easily trawl through votes in EDC files to see Labour councillors abstaining as well.
So we have a situation that Lairdsland Primary is £1million over budget at £5.9million before it is even finished.
How much will this council be over budget by the time the first four schools are built? Then the other four new builds before Baldernock as a merger. There was great amusement from Councillor Geekie trying to defend the school closures with toilets being included as an educational benefit in regards to soft furnishings. Baldernock in its defence has quite stylish blinds and paint on the walls.
Townhead school memories
TOWNHEAD school once occupied the site where I now live. I think the space now consisting of my living room was once the old music room where Jean Findlay and Mary L Hogg sang themselves hoarse in the hope that their pupils would eventually graduate to the enviable ranks of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir which Miss Hogg and others adorned for many years.
Almost next door was the mathematics class ruled by that lovable and enduring figure Duncan M McKellar.
Big Mac made mathematics interesting because at heart he was a joker by nature and anyone who can teach mathematics with humour is a genius.
He was a great teacher which made maths much easier to learn than might otherwise have been the case.
Big Mac seemed to go on forever. He not only taught me but taught my father and mother as well. Long after me he was still teaching. But he could be a strict disciplinarian.
The woodwork teacher in those days was Alex MacKenzie who was also a talented actor. He starred in the films ‘Whisky Galore’ and ‘The Maggie’ which were a tremendous success. I still have bits and pieces of work produced under Alex’s skilful direction.
The carpark at Thistle Court was once our old school playground where Willie Connel, the janitor, was almost driven out of his mind by the din we created. But there was no violence and not one piece of litter would be seen after playtime.
Everything is now quiet. When I look out of my back window, it is only in my mind that I can still hear the joyful, carefree shouting and noise of those enjoyable days.
Those wonderful teachers have gone, yet the memories of those happy times make me feel quite at home here.
Robert A Penney,
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