Labour still feeling the heat over schools vote

THE storm that engulfed councillors following the vote on the future of schools shows no sign of abating.

Thursday, 8th April 2010, 1:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2010, 1:00 pm

Parents and political rivals have kept up the pressure on the ruling Labour group who followed the party whip in pushing through the closures of St Francis of Assisi Primary School and Cedar Road Nursery, along with schools in other parts of North Lanarkshire.

The most frequent accusation is that the council's consultation was a sham.

Karen Eadie, chairwoman of a committee set up to fight for Francis's said: "The consultation was hugely flawed.

"Our community loses, our parents lose and most importantly our children lose."

Nationalist MSP Jamie Hepburn, whose council colleagues opposed the closures, said: "This is extremely disappointing news for the parents, pupils and campaigners who have worked so hardand, yet, have not received the support of the Labour councillors that are supposed to be representing them.

"A very strong case was put forward for keeping both locations open. Rather than develop the schools and nurseries affected, and invest in the education and future of Cumbernauld's children, the Labour-run council opted for short-term savings."

And Willie O'Neill, Scottish Socialist Party candidate in the General Election, also believes that the consultation was flawed.

"All of the responses to the council's consultation said that St Francis should stay open, yet no one will be surprised that the council has decided to close it.

"This shows that the consultation was a sham, with an outcome that had been decided before it began. Parents presented a watertight case to keep the school, only to have it completely ignored by the council who have put cash before kids by voting to close the school," he said.

"I hope parents maintain their opposition to closure and whatever course of action they pursue to defend their children's education will have my full support."

Mr O'Neill also claimed that this closure is the shape of things to come in public services.

"A massive campaign of defiance will be needed to force a rethink and the SSP is committed to do whatever we can to assist in building such a campaign."

He called on local people to join a demonstration in Glasgow this Saturday, April 10 against public service cuts. Organised by trade union Unison it kicks off at 9.30am in Kelvingrove Park.