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Municipalities that will not get government's financing to increase teachers' salaries call Education Ministry's decision blackmail
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    Municipalities that will not get government's financing to increase teachers' salaries call Education Ministry's decision blackmail

    JELGAVA, Aug 10 (LETA) - A decision by the Education and Science Ministry and the government not to allot funds to several local governments so they could increase teachers' salaries is wrong and resembles blackmail, heads of several municipalities told LETA.

    Baltinava Region Council's Chairwoman Sarmite Tabore (We For Baltinava) told LETA that school reorganization was a "complicated issue", but the Education and Science Ministry's decision to allot financing for increasing teachers' salaries to only those local governments that met the official proportion of schoolchildren per teacher, and where school network optimization measures had been implemented, was wrong.

    "We have just one school and we cannot optimize it. There are no grounds for shutting the school down," Tabore said, adding though that her local government would be able to meet the minimum requirements regarding teachers' salaries.

    Ligatne Region Council's Chairman Ainars Steins (Unity) also said he did not understand the ministry's decision.

    "We hired the best experts we could to implement a well-thought out education reform," said Steins, adding that his municipality was strong enough to get by without the government's handouts.

    Two schools have been merged in Ligatne Region, an Education Council has been set up there for improving education quality, and a new primary school has been opened in the region. "The school has a new staff with a different philosophy and values, to give children education they deserve to have in the 21st century," said Steins. "Yes, teachers deserve respectable salaries, but money cannot be the priority of the reform. Children and their interests have to be the priority."

    Alsunga Region Council's Chairwoman Daiga Kalnina (For Alsunga Region's Growth) told LETA that the Education and Science Ministry's decision was blackmail.

    "Reorganizing a school means letting some teachers go so other could have their wages increased. But our teachers are united and they know what it would mean for the region if the only high school here was closed - there would be no young people here," said Kalnina.

    As reported, approximately EUR 1.4 million will be made available for increasing salaries of school teachers from September 1 to December 31 this year, the government decided on August 7.

    The funding will be distributed among those local governments where the proportion of students per teacher met the official quota in the 2017-2018 school year, and which were optimizing their school networks in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

    It also means that a number of municipalities, for instance, Baltinava, Karsava, Cibla, Zilupe and others, will not receive additional funding. Most of these local governments are located in Vidzeme and Latgale provinces.

    • Published: 10.08.2018 18:09
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