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Deanes School governing body could sue over £4million handout
Updated 2:23pm Thursday 13th March 2014 in Echo News
GOVERNORS at the Deanes School are considering legal action against Essex County Council for awarding £4million to two other schools to expand.
Essex County Council promised to award £2million each to the King John and Appleton academies so they could expand and take on an extra 30 pupils a year if the Deanes closed.
However, despite the adjudicator ruling to keep the Deanes School open, the county council has already awarded the money to the two neighbouring schools.
On November 7 the council’s ruling Tory cabinet passed a recommendation for £4million to be spent on the two schools, £1million of which should be awarded in this (the 2013/14) financial year (so before April).
County Hall claimed it had to push ahead with granting the money otherwise, if the school did close, the expansions at King John and Appleton would not have been ready by September.
Now, the governing body of the Deanes is considering whether or not to take legal action against the council as the money was only supposed to be awarded if the Deanes closed.
Ian Rudd, chairman of governors at the school, said: “We are considering seeking legal opinions about this.
“We have seen the agreements Essex County Council has with Appleton and King John.
“The council signed the agreements with the schools on November 7 – the day of the first cabinet meeting – even though it knew we would be appealing the decision and that it was being called in by councillors.
“The agreement is that the money is awarded to the schools if the Deanes School closes, and even though we are staying open, the schools are still getting the money.
“I don’t have anything against the two other schools. If I was being offered £2million for my school of course we would take it and I would hold the council to it.
“But why should the council still award them the money, which could be put to keeping us maintained?
“Leave aside what Essex County Council has been doing to try to close us, by letting two other schools increase their numbers it will obviously affect us.”
A decision is expected to be made by the governors this week.
An Essex County Council spokeswoman said: “The council will publish a cabinet report next week for the cabinet meeting on March 25, which will propose next steps for all schools involved in the determination of the School’s Adjudicator regarding the Deanes School.”
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