Perth and Kinross councillors have voted to push ahead with the closure of the region’s smallest school.
Blairingone Primary has been targeted for the chop because of its low roll, with just five pupils attending and no new starts enrolled for August.
The plan, to shut the school and move pupils to Fossoway Primary some seven miles away, has angered parents and local residents who say the school is a vital part of the community.
On Wednesday, members of the local authority’s lifelong learning committee voted to take the closure plan to the next stage, a wider public consultation.
Independent councillor Mike Barnacle made a plea to save the school, pointing out that proposed housing could help boost pupil numbers.
“Throughout my time as local councillor since 1999, I have campaigned to preserve the local school in Blairingone and will not be happy with an administration that carries out closure,” he said.
“This is a community that in my time has lost its church, inn, post office, shop and village hall, with the school being the last community facility remaining.
“The community requires re-invigoration, not regression.”
Mr Barnacle said that he recently met local landowners and developers, who assured they were poised to produce a masterplan for a nearby site with between 61 and 95 homes.
Planning chief Peter Marshall told the committee: “This is not just about securing planning consent, this is about market conditions.”
He said that young families and first-time buyers were liked to buy homes in urban areas, whereas older people who have passed the age of having children, would opt for properties in places like Blairingone.
Conservative councillor and committee convener Caroline Shiers backed proposals to shut the school. “In the interests of educational provision for the area, I really do believe that this is the route we need to be going down,” she said.
Ms Shiers said that no one at the committee wanted to see the school closed, but the council had been left with little option.
Independent councillor Xander McDade moved against the plan, saying the school should be kept open because new housing would lead to an increase in pupil numbers.
He also said the school’s loss would have a detrimental impact on the area.
SNP councillor John Rebbeck backed Mr McDade’s amendment. “Rural education can be expensive, although in this case the savings of £85,000 a year are quite modest.
“While it can be expensive, the country is far richer for having it.”
The committee voted nine-five in favour of moving to the consultation stage.