A row has broken out over Scottish Government-funding for new west Fife schools.
Labour Dunfermline South Councillor Billy Pollock wanted to send a cross-party letter to John Swinney ensuring Dunfermline be made his top priority when it came to making funding available to replace Woodmill and St Columba’s high schools, both of which lie in his ward.
Fife Council allocated £50 million in its capital programme toward the cost of new secondary schools, but a contribution must now come from the Scottish Government.
While Lib Dem Councillor Tony Martin did add his name to the letter, the two SNP councillors did not, Mr Pollock said.
He added: “In writing this letter I ensured it was from a non-party political standpoint.
“I would have liked all four councillors to be united in asking for funding.”
However, in response SNP Councillor Fay Sinclair said: “It is disappointing, though hardly surprising, that a few weeks out from an election we have a politician taking a sudden interest in the need for new local schools and trying to politicise his late and limited intervention.
“Councillor Brian Goodall and myself both personally welcomed Mr Pollock to our long-running and ongoing campaign for new buildings for Woodmill and St Columba’s high schools and assured him our meetings with education ministers have ensured they are already well aware of the needs of school pupils in Dunfermline.
“This is an issue I have personally led on for the past two years and I’m delighted that this continued pressure has led to the inclusion of money toward school buildings in Fife Council’s capital plan.
“We are now finally in a position to bid for Scottish Government funding as soon as it becomes available and I’ve had it confirmed that council officers are in discussions with the Scottish Futures Trust regarding these schools.”
Mr Pollock acknowledged Fife had “done well” from the previous money made available from the Schools for the Future Programme.
“The council has made an allocation of £50m in its capital programme toward the cost of new secondary schools, but must rely on additional funding from the Scottish Government in order to be able to tackle the outstanding needs for renewal and replacement of those schools in most immediate need of attention,” he said.
“Both Woodmill and St Columba’s are performing well.
“It is a testament to pupils, staff and parents that high standards are still achieved despite a less than ideal teaching environment.”
He added he would like a commitment, and timescale, for Scottish Government funding as without this there would be a detrimental impact on pupils’ learning.