Opposition councillors have unveiled proposals to protect school staff in Moray from multi-million-pound budget cuts.
The authority’s Conservative and independent administration has already unveiled its vision to save £6.4million during the next year, while more than £4million from reserves.
But the SNP’s own blueprint to balance the books does not include cuts to librarian and technician posts in classrooms and crossing patrollers outside.
The nationalists’ proposals strike more than £900,000 worth of savings from the administration’s plans while advocating the creation of a new “income generation” post.
Councillors are due to meet on Wednesday to agree the financial plan for the forthcoming year.
Graham Leadbitter, co-leader of the SNP group, insisted the better-than-expected projected shortfall should be used to protect services.
He said: “With £4million more available to the council than was anticipated, this is an opportunity to protect education services and still set a balanced budget.
“There is still a lack of strategy from the administration and they have simply adopted a policy of slash and burn.
“People in Moray should use the next 48 hours to challenge the administration to re-think their budget.”
Council officers have explained a £15million shortfall was projected in the books in December – but that had dropped to £10.7million by the end of January following confirmation of the Scottish Government’s own financial plans.
However, council leader George Alexander has stressed that delaying savings to next year would only deepen the blow.
The SNP’s budget also protects a £31,000 proposed cut to gritting, a £35,000 reduction to community wardens and £30,000 for the local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Meanwhile, they believe introducing a “car club” to hire council pool cars at weekends will generate £25,000 a year and they have set a £20,000 target for the proposed income generation officer, rising to £80,000 next year.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has warned that slashing services now would lead to extra spending.
He said: “It’s unjustifiable the Tories and independents in power at the council are not prepared to use the millions more than predicted to protect education.
“If these cuts to services, which support some of our most vulnerable young folk, go ahead, then the cost to Moray down the line will be much higher.”