Local Authority Schools to Strike Wednesday Over Budget Cuts

Union of Local Authorities: Thousands of teaching hours will be cut, 1,500teachers will be fired as a result of the loss of funding.

The Union of Local Authorities will not open schools on Wednesday in some 60 communities that stand to lose funding as the result of an estimated NIS 150 million budget cut announced by the Education Ministry 10 days ago.

The Education Ministry decision is the consequence of a High Court of Justice ruling prohibiting fund distribution based on considerations of geographical national priority.

As a result of the loss of funding, thousands of teaching hours will be cut and some 1,500 teachers will be fired, said ULA chairman Adi Eldar. The ULA has already ordered the relevant local authorities to begin the process of dismissing teachers.

Ma'alot-Tarshiha Mayor Shlomo Buhbut, who is also chairman of the forum of frontline communities, said that "the Education Ministry's decision is extremely unreasonable. A budgetary cut of that scale is a disaster for schools in development town and communities in peripheral areas. We have petitioned the High Court of Justice to revoke the decision."

An Education Ministry spokesperson said in response that "this is a pointless strike, especially considering that the High Court of Justice has yet to discuss an Education Ministry proposal that would the alleviate the need for dismissals. Not only is the ministry not cutting the budget, it is increasing it by NIS 55 million."