A row has erupted in Dudley over plans to close a primary school while spending half-a-million pounds on upgrading a nearby gypsy caravan site.
The spat has resulted in the Conservative leader of the local authority accusing the Labour opposition leader of being prejudiced towards travellers.
Council officials are expected to meet next week to order the closure of Beauty Bank Primary School in Stourbridge.
At the same time the authority is looking to kickstart a major refurbishment of the travellers' site at Oak Lane in Kingswinford.
Dudley's opposition leader David Sparks (Lab Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood) accused the authority of mismanaging the situation.
"The closure of the school has been a total cock-up," he said. "The situation with the gypsy site needs to be investigated. I have always assumed that these sites were self-financing.
"If that is not the case the question is why? It is wrong to close a school and spend a fortune on a gypsy site."
Beauty Bank is earmarked for closure because of falling rolls; only nine pupils turned up for the start of term in September.
Annual running costs for the school are almost identical to the amount being proposed to spend on upgrading the gypsy site.
But council leader Coun David Caunt (Con Sedgley) said it was completely wrong to compare the two.
"It is comparing chalk with cheese. We are making a capital bid for ringfenced Government funding to do up the travellers' site.
"Beauty Bank School is revenue spending capped by the Government. They tell us how much per pupil we can plough into the school."
Coun Caunt attacked Coun Sparks for making a link between the two areas of spending.
"He is trying to connect the unconnected," he said.
"In his position he should know better than confusing revenue money for schools and capital money that is going to be ringfenced for the travellers' site.
"There is an undertone there of a certain amount of prejudice."
Coun Caunt said the gypsy site has been there for many years and is sorely in need of refurbishing.
Dudley Council is planning to demolish 19 existing utility blocks and build new ones containing showers, toilets and kitchenettes.
The site is located about five miles away from Beauty Bank.
A spokesman for the authority stressed the council was currently bidding for Government cash which would pay for most of the £531, 000 refurbishment cost.
"The proposals, which will only go ahead if we are successful in a bid for £398,000 Government funding, involve the demolition and re-build of all 19 utility blocks on the site. "The existing facilities are more than 30 years old and surveys have shown they are not fit for purpose. Each of the proposed blocks would consist of a shower room, toilet and kitchenette."
A decision from the Government is not expected until next spring.
Dudley Council said if successful it would fund the remaining £133,000 but stressed residents on the site were entitled to proper facilities. "All licence holders on the site pay council tax," said the spokesman. "A proportion of licence holders receive housing benefit, while others pay rent on a weekly basis."
Coun Liz Walker (Con Amblecote), the council's cabinet member for children's services, has reassured parents the nine pupils would be found places in nearby schools.
Beauty Bank had 123 pupils until January this year but fallen numbers resulted in it been deemed not "a viable option" by the authority.