COUNCILLORS are preparing to vote next Wednesday (March 27) on recommendations which could see several controversial school mergers move a step closer to reality.
In recent weeks hundreds of worried parents have protested at the plans to merge primary schools across East Dunbartonshire - but, if voted through, proposals put forward by administration councillors would progress the majority of the short-listed mergers in one form or another.
Statutory consultation on the first of the mergers will start in May if, as expected, the plans contained within the report are passed by the full council.
The plans to be considered under the initial consultation would be the merger of Lenzie and Lenzie Moss primaries at a new-build school built on the Lenzie Moss site, and merging Woodhill and Auchinairn primaries at a new school at Woodhill.
A second consultation would then be held in August looking at merging St Agatha’s and St Flannan’s primaries on the St Flannan’s Primary site - as well as merging St Joseph’s Primary, in Milngavie, with St Joseph’s Primary, in Bearsden.
A merger of Baldernock Primary and Torrance Primary would be put on hold until a Scottish Government Commission on rural schools reports its findings.
It will be a case of going back to the drawing board for some of the other mergers, which proved unpopular with parents in a recent informal consultation, if councillors give the recommendations the green light.
The merger of Meadowburn, Balmuildy and Wester Cleddens primaries would be put on hold - with council officers looking at merging Balmuildy with EITHER Meadowburn OR Wester Cleddens.
And a feared ‘super-school’ merging Gartconner, Oxgang, Hillhead and Harestanes primaries would also be abandoned - with an alternative of two separate mergers to be considered instead - with Hillhead and Oxgang forming one school, and Gartconner and Harestanes the other.
However there was good news for one group of schools campaigners - as the merger between Lennoxtown Primary and Craighead Primary is expected to be dropped completely.
But council leader Rhondda Geekie was quick to insist that the final decision would not be made until next week’s meeting.
She said: “Despite what is currently being said, NO decisions have yet been taken on the future of our Primary School Improvement Programme.
“The place for those decisions is the council meeting on Wednesday, March 27, where all councillors will have the opportunity to debate the paper and recommendations and following that debate, decide on the best options to investing in improving our Primary School estate.”
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