Claims on council vote declared 'misleading'

14th November 2008 at 00:00

I was astonished to read the letter from Councillor Tom Johnston of North Lanarkshire Council in last week's issue. It is misleading and appears to have a misunderstanding of what went on at the committee meeting to which he refers.

The issue under discussion was budget monitoring for the period to the end of September, and was simply a recording of the facts. There was no transfer of any money from the budget for teaching staff. There was an underspend applying to all employees in the council's learning and leisure department. This budget line will resolve itself through the financial year as staffing issues are resolved, including the possible transfer of some teaching staff from temporary to permanent contracts.

I neither spoke nor voted against the SNP motion as Councillor Johnston claims. I did comment on the staffing standard and class sizes in North Lanarkshire, which is one of the few authorities making progress towards a limit of 18 pupils in P1-3.

Despite my misgivings that Councillor Johnston's motion was raised in an inappropriate context, neither I nor the other teachers' representative on the committee voted on his motion - despite his assertion that we did. If he was in doubt, he should have checked the facts before raising matters in the press. I therefore assume that he was deliberately trying to mislead your readers.

Helen Connor, vice-president, Educational Institute of Scotland.

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