RURAL schools on Scotland's west coast could be the latest victims of local authority budget cuts under proposals to be discussed today.

Argyll and Bute Council is considering plans to close three schools this year to save money, and a further eight primaries could face closure under long-term rationalisation plans to be put before councillors today.

Parents are already campaigning against proposals to close Rashfield Primary in Cowal, near Dunoon, Drumlemble Primary, near Campbeltown, and Kil-michael Glassary Primary, near Lochgilphead, as part of budget cuts this year.

One school earmarked for closure under the council's long-term proposals is Kilmodan Primary, which serves the villages of Glendaruel and Colintraive, around 20 miles west of Dunoon. Under the proposals, children would be sent to different schools depending on where they live.

Hotelier Stephen Williamson, chairman of the school board, said the move would split the community and force young children to make long journeys every day.

He said: It would mean there would be no incentive or encouragement for people with young families to move into the area. It would have an enormous effect on the social fabric of the area.''

A council spokesman declined to comment until the issue had been discussed by councillors.

Meanwhile, Highland Council is proposing to close 120-year-old Roy Bridge Primary School near Fort William, which has a roll of 34 pupils.