Controversial proposals to close schools in Moray could provoke a repeat of angry parents organising marches to oppose the plans.
Families brandished placards outside council chambers when controversial measures to cut costs were put forward three years ago.
But now, it appears closures and mergers could re-emerge on the local authority’s agenda with a strong supporter of fewer schools in Moray, George Alexander, set to be named council leader today.
The former maths teacher has been a long-term advocate of concentrating resources in less buildings, believing that pupils will benefit from a better education.
Several primary schools in the region, including Findochty, Glenlivet and Logie, are operating at less than 40% of their capacity while the council’s repair bill has now risen to more than £100million.
However, Dougie Potter, who headed a campaign to save Milne’s High School, warned last night that any closure proposals would likely be met with similar protests to those in 2014.
Despite calming words that the proposals could take up to 20 years to implement, hundreds of people signed a petition as parents and pupils marched through the centre of Elgin.
Mr Potter explained the case had already been made to protect Milne’s High School from the axe.
He said: “I think we proved, last time round, there are exactly the right number of secondary schools based on the number of pupils in Moray.
“We didn’t fight our campaign on emotional grounds. We used factual evidence to prove the educational benefits for children who access the rural secondary schools.
“What should be considered is that 21st-century teaching shouldn’t be about children being in the same classroom as each other – there’s video link technology now to access information.”
Leadership positions at Moray Council are due to be agreed today following weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations.
Deadlock continued in the chamber until Monday when it emerged a majority partnership had been forged between six independent councillors and the group of eight Conservatives.
Forres councillor, Mr Alexander is expected to be nominated as council leader with Heldon and Laich member James Allan poised to be named as convener.