Parents have begged Aberdeenshire Council not to “sacrifice” a rural primary school that shut because of an oil leak almost two years ago in order to “balance the books”.
Gartly School, near to Huntly, was closed down in December 2018, after youngsters went home feeling sick and smelling of kerosene.
All of the small rural school’s 23 pupils and nursery children were moved to Rhynie’s school, several miles away.
The council cordoned off the building and erected warning signs due to soil contamination under the boiler room and main hall, and since then it has lain empty.
But now, with children recently returning to the school following the easing of lockdown restrictions for education, mums and dads are once again appealing for the council to address the situation.
Last year, Aberdeenshire Council confirmed it would cost almost £900,000 to make the school safe again.
Contamination is so severe that the affected parts of the school would need to be torn down and rebuilt.
But the Save Gartly School Group has argued it is a price worth paying.
A statement from the group said: “Given the current pressures on the council’s finances, we feel that our school will be sacrificed to balance the books.
“It would be a travesty if this sort of short-termism was allowed to rip the heart out of our community, to the detriment of the education of our children for future generations.”
Charlotte Whitley, a mother of a Gartly Primary pupil, said the school roll for Gartly has recently fallen to eight.
She said: “The worst-case scenario is the roll could reduce to a point where we’re facing a closure.
“But the longer they go on stalling, the harder it is for children to stay there.
“For me, it’s a two-mile trip to Gartly School for the drop-off, and it’s a 10-mile round-trip for Rhynie, so that’s a good 15 minutes each way instead of a quick drop-off.
“We’re so happy with the teachers at Gartly, and we really think it deserves a chance to be saved, and unfortunately it looks like this might be the only chance we’ve got.”
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Council officers continue to provide updates on Gartly School, however we can confirm no work on the school site will take place at the moment.”