Calls have been made for an investigation into how cash-strapped Moray Council has spent nearly £10,000 at a mothballed primary school.
The bill for Inveravon Primary – which has had no pupils since last summer – includes nearly £1,000 on photocopying over the last year.
The classrooms of the school, in Ballindalloch, have been empty since last August when parents of the remaining two pupils decided to move them elsewhere.
Now figures released by Moray Council show that despite no lessons taking place, the authority has spent nearly £10,000 at the site between September 2017 and November this year.
A decision was made to “mothball” the school instead of formally close it so that it could be opened again if more families move to the area. However, a consultation to formally shut it is now being considered as part of the authority’s strategy for the entire education estate.
Last night, opposition group leader Tim Eagle demanded answers over the empty school’s expenditure at a time when the authority is trying to save £12million.
He said: “It seems confusing why a mothballed school will have spent £950 on photocopying and nearly £400 on phone calls.
“The only thing I can think of is equipment was still in a lease period but surely this should have been looked at by officers, especially in these financially challenging times.
“I have asked officers to provide answers as to why these expenses were incurred.”
Only five students were in the single class at Inveravon Primary School for its final academic year.
When three of the pupils moved up to Speyside High, the parents of the remaining children asked for them to be transferred to Knockando Primary.
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The remaining staff were redeployed within the local school system.
Moray Council has already commissioned a long-term look at its education estate amid concerns it can no longer afford to maintain the buildings, which are ranked as being in among the worst condition in Scotland.
Sonya Warren, chairwoman of the authority’s children and young people’s committee, said: “The future of Inveravon will be looked with the wider school estate.
“Obviously there’s no children there at the moment but you can’t just close a school. You need to go through consultations to look at whether it’s likely that there will be more pupils there in the future.”
Education staff believe that it would take 10 students to make the school viable enough to reopen.
Speyside Glenlivet councillor Derek Ross said: “Most of the money has been spent on maintenance, which is what you would expect.
“Parents should be the ones to decide whether the school should close or not. There may be children in the area, who are not yet of school age, who may want to attend there.”