Councillors will next week make a decision on the future of a north-east school which has been shut for more than two years.
Since the incident, children have been accommodated at Rhynie School.
But Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee will next week decide on next steps for Gartly.
Two choices are on the table for the committee – to continue with repair work and reinstate the school, or conduct an options appraisal which would include all potential avenues.
If the second option is pursued the closure of the school would be a possibility. However, the local authority would have to prove there would be an educational benefit to doing so.
Many families also opted to move their children to other schools in the aftermath of the incident, reducing the school roll from 36 two years ago to eight.
More than £450,000 has so far been spent on repairs, and nearly £900,000 more will be needed if the building is to reopen as a school.
The Marr area committee previously gave its backing to the reinstatement of the school, but in order for that to happen, the level of contamination from the oil leak must be zero.
A report to the committee revealed the school would have to be partially demolished to achieve that target – and even then, there would be “no complete guarantee” of no contamination.
It reads: “Officers have had further discussions with colleagues in Environmental Health, Education and NHS Grampian Health Protection Scotland regarding the effectiveness of the proposals.
“The conclusion of these discussions is that the only technical solution that can be considered at this stage is partial demolition, and, thereafter, excavation and reinstatement/rebuilding of demolished area.
“In addition to the remediation works, there will be a requirement for some further improvements and decoration to be undertaken in order to ensure that the return to the Gartly building will be to a safe and comfortable environment.”
Other options for the future of the school include mergers with either Rhynie or Kennethmont Schools or new builds.
However, the latter option would cost as much as £6 million.
Councillors will discuss and vote on the options at the education and children’s services committee meeting on January 28.