Carmiel Parents Say Schools Too Crowded

Parents committee at the municipal ORT Psagot school in Carmiel begins three-day strike, citing a number of complaints against the municipality.

The parents committee at the municipal ORT Psagot school in Carmiel began a three-day strike on Sunday, citing a number of complaints against the municipality, which is responsible for infrastructure and transportation to the school.

Psagot, set up as a result of a merger between two schools, Megadim and Horowitz, now accommodates some 1,650 students from 7th to 12th grade.

In a letter addressed to the municipality and copied to the Education Ministry, the parents committee complained about a number of issues, including the lack of an adequate number of school buses to transport students from distant neighborhoods. One mother said the existing buses are overcrowded, with up to 80 students packed onto each bus.

The parents also complained about the poor infrastructure and overcrowding within the school building itself. According to their letter, the 9th grade, which consists of 240 students, has only four bathrooms allotted to it - two for boys and two for girls.

"We understand that there are some birth pangs, but solutions need to be found when the issues concern the safety and health of the children," committee chairman Moshe Ben Avo told Haaretz.

The Carmiel municipality said in a statement that the merger of the two schools was handled completely professionally, in consultation with the municipal parents council, the ORT network, the Education Ministry and other parties. All issues concerning transportation, equipment, facilities and so on were taken care of as best as possible, the statement said.

The municipality stressed that the strike violates the compulsory education law, and that it intends to take disciplinary and legal action.