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Conwy Council agrees with £44k loan to Llysfaen school

A SCHOOL which has had to make compulsory redundancies after Conwy Council slashed its education budget by 5% will borrow £44k from the council.

The council’s cabinet agreed to lend Ysgol Cynfran in Llysfaen the money as a “bridging arrangement” following a plea from the school’s head.

The council controversially forced all schools to cut budgets by 5% in the spring, blaming the move on a poor settlement from Welsh Government.

The school is also struggling because a drop in pupil numbers means a reduced budget.

After a failed attempt to offer staff voluntary redundancy, the school is now moving towards compulsory redundancies.

It is not yet known, though, how many or which jobs are at risk.

Cabinet member for education Cllr Julie Fallon proposed the cabinet backed the loan, and this was seconded by cabinet member for finance Cllr Mike Priestley before the chamber voted unanimously in favour.

Cllr Aaron Wynne agreed with the arrangement. “A good debate was had in scrutiny last week,” said Cllr Wynne.

“It is clear to me that the head and governing body have robust plans to bring costs down and that this loan is more of a bridging arrangement to adjoin two different financial years, which is a challenge for schools that we’ve got the financial year and the academic year starting at different times.”

He added: “The request appears to be a fair one, and the plan to be supported appears to be robust, so I’m happy to support it.”

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A council finance scrutiny committee last week backed the plan, advising the cabinet not to place interest on the loan, but councillors heard how a report on school loans, set to be discussed this autumn, will determine the finer details of the agreement.

Initially the school on Dolwen Road needed £141,000 to balance the books before school reserves were used together with grant funding to bring the sum down.