Councillor Paul Godzik is Education Convener and in charge of a large proportion of the council’s revenue and capital budgets. The council has a statutory duty to provide schools for children in the city.
Next year the council hopes that two new schools will open in the city, one at Portobello, controversially being built in Portobello Park, and the other by the side of the canal at Fountainbridge. This will be the new Boroughmuir High School, and there are similarities in design and building processes.
At Portobello they are providing flexible spaces which can be used as classrooms or meeting spaces. The library has a balcony, and the sports facilities will be available to locals.
But the council has a fixed budget as a result of the council tax freeze imposed by the Scottish Government, and in fact will have less to spend next year, as the council has to make savings of £141million in its revenue budget over the next four years. At present the council is consulting on the budget for the next four years here. You are invited to join in the conversation and offer your ideas. The Finance Convener Alasdair Rankin promises that this will make a difference to the way the council then offers up its budget. Two sets of budget proposals have been published across the whole of the council, but some of the proposals will affect the Children and Families Service area. For example the council hopes to save £500,000 by integrating sports services, and wants to reduce spending by £250,000 by reducing the number of third party payments. The council will adopt a unified approach to sports in Edinburgh and will merge Edinburgh Leisure and school sports to save money by rationalising management and booking. This would reduce operating cost and would generate income by letting out sports facilities.
So how will the council manage to provide the schools it has to for all of those from nursery to secondary school within the budget that it has and where do the priorities lie?
The Edinburgh Reporter met up with Councillor Godzik at the Cowgate Under Fives Centre to find out what they have been spending money on so far and what they plan for the future:
You can have your say on the council budget before 10 December 2015.