A furious war of words has erupted over changes to Fife schools administration posts.
Co-leader of Fife Council, SNP councillor David Alexander, has accused North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie of “an awesome display of self-publicity”, and cynicism from the Liberal Democrats.
But Mr Rennie, who handed in a Save Our School Secretaries petition against any proposed reduction in the clerical service, has hit back, calling Mr Alexander’s “outburst” dismissive and high-handed.
The problems started when Mr Rennie joined parents and pupils to hand in the petition to Fife House in protest at the review of staffing which he said would cut back the number of important administrative staff in small rural primary and nursery schools.
Mr Rennie said the plan would see the roles replaced with more junior positions, resulting in the loss of years of experience.
“It’s clear that parents and children don’t want to see these vital members of school staff go.”
But the Lib Dems’ handling of the issue has left Mr Alexander far from impressed.
“We are witnessing an awesome display of self-publicity from Willie Rennie on this issue and no little amount of cynicism from the Liberal Democrats.”
He said the council continually reviewed its operations to make them more efficient.
As the structure of schools had not been reviewed since 2009, it was an exercise that had to be done.
“However, the constant statements from Willie Rennie that there are cuts to primary schools admins is not true.
“If anything, more resources will put into the sector and a new promoted post will be created for staff to further their career.
“Every primary school in north east Fife will have at least 30 hours administration cover no matter the number of pupils, with additional support at cluster lever.
“We totally understand people do not like change but support will be provided where required.”
He added: “At no point in this process have we seen anything resembling integrity from the Liberal Democrats and the constant self publicity will be seen for what it is.
But Mr Rennie hit back saying: “I am sure that parents from the schools affected will be disappointed by David Alexander’s outburst.
“His dismissive and high handed manner in response to serious concerns does not help his case.”
He pledged to continue to work with parents and SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth to secure a change.