A mothballed Moray primary school has racked up more than £3,000 in photocopier bills in the last five years – despite no pupils attending.
The future of Inveravon Primary School in rural Ballindalloch is currently being debated with classes not being held there since summer 2017.
Figures obtained by The Press and Journal can now reveal Moray Council has had to fork out more than £21,000 on bills, excluding staff costs, while it has been mothballed.
Outgoings include bills for routine maintenance, energy and water supplies.
However, thousands have also been spent on continuing photocopier contracts and telephone bills.
Moray Council says it has continued to spend the money due to equipment being left at the school while its future is discussed – adding investigations are now being done to see what can be removed.
What is happening with Inveravon Primary?
Only five students attended tiny Inveravon Primary before the summer holidays in 2017.
However, due to the low numbers, it is understood the parents of the final children opted to instead send them to Knockando Primary six miles away.
Moray Council formally mothballed the school a short time later, which allows for it to reopen, but stopped short of formally closing it, which would require a legal consultation and Scottish Government approval.
That process is now taking place with engagement sessions between the authority and community groups being run between November and the end of this month.
No requests have been made to enrol children at Inveravon since the school was mothballed.
However, Sonya Warren, chairwoman of the council’s education, children’s and leisure services committee, said future needs also need to be taken into consideration.
She said: “Obviously Inveravon was not a planned closure, there had been families there and then they chose to leave themselves.
“We need to look at the whole community’s needs though. Is there a demand now? Is there going to be a demand? We need to listen to what the community wants on it – we can’t make decisions without them.
“We also have a review of the whole school estate ongoing, which is really about making sure our schools are fit for modern education needs.”
A Moray Council spokesman said: “The equipment in Inveravon Primary School has remained in place whist we work with the local community to determine the future options for the school.
“We can confirm that works are underway to identify equipment that needs removed from schools across Moray.
“Inveravon Primary School was mothballed in August 2017 as a result of the school roll falling to zero, and the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has since been a barrier to full engagement and consultation.
“We’re currently working with the Inveravon community to explore all of the possible options for the future of the school.”