A CLARKSTON woman is spearheading a campaign to ensure education is not compromised in East Renfrewshire’s next budget.
A consultation is underway which asks about issues such as increasing primary one target class sizes from 18 children per teacher to 25 and a reduction of nursery teachers and school support staff.
Lisa McNulty’s three-year-old son Sandy attends Carolside Nursery while her six-month-old son Donald will be subject to a ballot to determine which nursery he attends.
In recent weeks, she has been leafleting parents at local schools to let them know of what she feels is the “harsh reality” of the council’s budget.
Lisa told The Extra: “These proposed cuts will hurt nurseries and schools across East Renfrewshire and will significantly affect pupils starting in August 2013 and 2014.
“The mums I have spoken to don’t know anything about the consultation. There is not enough publicity.
“Cuts have to be made, but if we can object to reductions in teaching staff and suggest other areas of council wastage, then hopefully the council will rethink.
“The focus so far has been on areas like Rhuallan House and East Renfrewshire magazine, neither of which are as important as education.
“The risk is that people who actually have the time to register their views are probably not us busy parents and will not be as concerned about education”.
Giffnock and Thornliebank councillor Vincent Waters assured local people “there are no certainties in this budget”.
He said: “The final version will reflect the feedback we have had from the community. We just need to ensure we deliver a balanced budget.
“During meetings with the community I have heard a lot of helpful and sensible comments which will be taken into account”.
East Renfrewshire council leader Jim Fletcher said: “It is vital that councils consult with local residents, service users and employees as much as possible prior to very important decisions being taken as these decisions could have an impact on the day to day services provided to residents by the council”.
However,Conservative leader Gordon Wallace said: “The administration is failing to rise to the challenge of changing circumstances.
“Everything from absenteeism to cost of refuse collection is spiralling out of control — all at a time when the administration is consulting with residents on cuts to services and increased charges”.
The consultation, which ends on December 16, looks to address East Renfrewshire’s budget gap between 2013 and 2016 which is estimated to be over £15million.
The council estimates that savings totalling £10.96 million over the next two years are needed to deliver balanced budgets for these years.
You can read more about the options, and have your say, at www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/budget or by calling 577 3001 for a budget pack.