Parents across Perth and Kinross face an anxious year-long wait as the future of local primary schools is decided.
The review of under-used and unsuitable schools will seal the fate of a number of institutions – some operating at as low as 24% of capacity – with closures a possibility.
The council has revealed the list of the first ten schools to be reviewed but stressed that all options will be considered from shared headships to new schools and “rationalisation including closures”.
Economic pressures have forced the council to look at some schools.
Councillor Bob Band, convener of the lifelong learning committee, admitted: “There are significant challenges for managing the school estate over the coming years.”
On Wednesday the members of the lifelong learning committee will be asked to note the outcomes of work to review the school estate and to approve the next phase of the review.
At a previous meeting of the committee, it was agreed a review would be undertaken on schools which have an occupancy rates of less than 60%; any school where the occupancy rate is expected to exceed 95% in the next seven years or any school where the building condition/suitability was rated C or D.
The appraisal of each school could take up to nine months as they may require public consultation and feasibilities and financial analysis.
The schools in the first phase review are ten primaries – Abernyte (52% occupancy), Balhousie (50%), Blairingone (28%), Braco (78%), Forteviot (28%), Greenloaning (24%), Logiealmond (25%), Methven (52%), North Muirton Primary (80%), St Ninian’s Episcopal (42%).
Detailed option appraisals for each of these schools will be developed and these will be reported back to the committee by December 2017.
“The school estate is a significant and valuable asset to the communities of Perth and Kinross,” said a council spokesman.
“Over the next seven years, the council will invest £145 million in the school estate, including a number of new or replacement schools and a substantial upgrade programme for secondary schools.
“The Scottish Government is also funding a new secondary school at Bertha Park. It is important in light of this planned investment that the existing school estate is managed in an efficient and effective manner.”
Mr Band said the review was required due to changing demographics including population growth and movement, house building in certain locations, ongoing deterioration in building infrastructure, pressure on planned maintenance budgets and increasing revenue costs.
“The school building is such an important part a child’s learning and it is our responsibility to ensure that this environment is the best it can possibly be to support their development,” he said.
“This review will allow us to do that; and ensure that we are putting our resources into the right place and that we are adequately planning for the future.”