High Court Agrees to Delay Teacher Layoffs

The High Court of Justice yesterday accepted the request of the Education Ministry to apply gradually the ruling ending special funding according to the "national priority map," and thus prevented the dismissal of some 1,500 teachers in peripheral-area high schools.

Nevertheless, the justices were critical of the plan presented by the ministry and instructed it to submit a more detailed one within six months.

The Education Ministry yesterday called on local authorities to withdraw the dismissal letters already sent to teachers.

At yesterday's hearing, the ministry asked to postpone the application of the ruling, handed down by the court in February 2006, to this September 1. The ruling impacts a number of areas, including supplements to the budgets of high schools.

A petition submitted 10 days ago by the Union of Local Authorities against cutting high-school budgets was appended to yesterday's hearing.

The justices agreed to delay implementation by one year. Thus, the ministry will cut only 3 percent of supplements to high-school budgets, meaning a cut of only a small number of classroom hours in each school.