A CAMPAIGN has been kicked off this week to try and throw primary schools in the Cotswolds a cash lifeline.
A county councillor and a school governor are working together to get primary schools across the district included in Cotswold District Council’s waste collection service.
At the moment, all 44 primary schools in the district are classed as businesses and have to pay for their waste to be picked up by private collectors, which can cost as much as £1,000 a year.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson said he believes the council should be flexible and collect the school’s waste while collecting domestic waste.
However cabinet member for the environment Cllr David Fowles said the idea was "too simplistic" and that many issues would need addressing before it could be considered.
Teamed up with North Cerney Primary School governor Jenny Forde, Cllr Hodgkinson has launched a campaign to try and get CDC to collect rubbish from schools in the district.
“I have previously asked CDC’s leader Cllr Lynden Stowe to be bold and generous on this issue but it fell on deaf ears,” said Cllr Hodgkinson. “Small rural schools like Chedworth, Southrop and North Cerney pay as much as £1,000 each year for this, when their budgets are stretched.”
North Cerney Primary School governor Jenny Forde said that CDC’s waste disposal trucks drove directly past the school while picking up rubbish from residents’ homes.
“Schools are so strapped for cash. We watch every single penny,” she said. “The money we could save could be spent on equipment, technology, class outings. This really affects the children.”
Cllr Hodgkinson and Mrs Forde have sent messages to all 44 primary schools in the district to ask them to pledge their support to the campaign. Despite the messages only being sent a few days ago, Cllr Hodgkinson said already several schools had shown support.
Mrs Forde went on to say she feels that schools work incredibly hard to make small budgets go a long way.
“Every penny makes a difference to our children’s education. I think it would stick in most people’s throats if they knew they were paying twice for waste collection, through their council tax and through public money that goes towards our state schools,” she said.
Once they have heard from all primary schools in the area, the pair will present the responses to a CDC meeting.
A member of the Gloucestershire Joint Waste Team said it is legally possible to collect the school's waste at the same time as collecting domestic waste. However, cabinet member for the environment Cllr David Fowles said there were many issues which needed addressing before this could happen.
"It is unlikely that sufficient spare capacity exists to collect extra waste from schools so it is likely that more vehicles and collection crews would be required, which means extra costs," he said.
"There is also the extra costs of disposing the waste that would need to be met."
He said that these are only some of the issues that would need addressing before any consideration can be given to the idea.
"I wonder how many other sectors of the community would also want us to consider a similar arrangement, such as village halls, churches, hospitals and care homes?" he asked.
Cllr Fowles said he would notify the Joint Waste Team of the campaign being launched and wait for further developments.
What do you think about the campaign? Leave your comments below.