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Union: unclear how many schools need to be reorganized to afford wage rise for teachers

Latvian Education and Science Workers’ Union’s (LESWU) manager Inga Vanaga notes that it is currently unclear as to how many schools have to be reorganized to afford wage rise for teachers.

The schedule for the increase of wages approved this week provides for realizing the plan using funding from the budget with an emphasis on using finances gained from reorganizing the existing school network.

Vanaga says that LESWU has turned to the Education and Science Ministry with a request to assess the situation and calculate changes for the school network in 2018 to make sure the EUR 710 detailed in the schedule can be reached in September.

«There is no unified view just how many schools have to be reorganized to afford wage rise. We asked the ministry about this. Officials told us that they can estimate scenarios, but the final decision is for municipal administrations to make. This is something hard to argue against. But we cannot calculate the funding we could gain through school network reorganization on our own,» said Vanaga, adding that it is hard to do, considering the different costs per child in different schools.

In accordance with the government’s order, the Education and Science Ministry has to submit a report regarding decisions made by municipal administrations in regards to reorganization, liquidation or foundation by 15 April. Decisions regarding liquidation, foundation or reorganization of schools can be made before 1 September of any given year.

Already a number of municipalities have already made decisions in regards to reorganization of their school networks. Looking at the schedule for increase of wages, it becomes clear that changes of the education institutions network are not intended as a major source of funding in 2018. With that, LESWU is committed to using any opportunity to react to economic growth and tax reforms to request additional funding for wages.

Education and Science Minister Kārlis Šadurskis said that the objective for EUR 710 wage can be reached by September. The question remains for Culture Ministry’s governed education institutions, because their overall network is already well-organized. Šadurskis predicts that it is entirely possible funding for wages of teachers of those institutions could be sought in the state budget.


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