Liberal Democrat councillors are pressing for alternative ways to fund school building works to be explored.
Cllr Ashley Evans (Liberal Democrat, Warley) told us: “It is becoming increasingly clear that some schools in Calderdale would benefit tremendously from a relatively small amount of money being spent on the fabric of their buildings. It is also clear that, because they only need a small amount spending on them, they will never get to the top of a list that also includes multi-million pound schemes that also need to be done.”
“We think that a serious discussion needs to take place about rebalancing these priorities. This is especially true in the cases where schools have managed to save up some money to contribute towards the cost of the work. These schools are willing to pay their share, but there doesn’t seem to be any mechanism that allows this to happen.”
“In the past, ‘prudential borrowing’ schemes have been pursued, but not anymore. Liberal Democrat councillors have recently suggested setting up a ‘revolving loan fund’, with schools borrowing from, and paying back into it. That hasn’t found much favour though” said Cllr Evans.
“We think that there needs to be a discussion about this issue – and one aimed at finding things the council can do, rather than finding reasons not to do them. I accept that money is in short supply at present, but the council has never had, and never will have, enough money to do all the things it wants. That’s even more reason to look at new ways of tackling the problem.”