Saturday 18 February 2012

How One School Avoided Closure.. for now (the struggle continues)

We have already written about how some schools which were being closed in North and South Praga districts organized some protests. We went together with pupils, parents and teachers to confront the mayor of the neighbourhood and later we also were at the session of the local council.

In order to close the schools, the local councils should send their approval to the city council, which then makes the vote. (For example, like they did at 3AM after hours of social protest.) Several times on this blog we have written about how the local government (North Praga, to be exact), was not democratically elected. It is in fact one where the neoliberals in charge of the city only won a small minority - 8 out of 22 councilpeople to be exact.* At the session of the local council, there were some protestors and the mayor and his cohorts were insisting that they did not plan to liquidate any schools. After most of the people left however, then came the proposal to liquidate the school. One colleague made a big scandal and the vote wasn't passed.

We are sure that the ruling party will try again in some sneaky way to shut it down. As it is, it already made some manipulations to negatively effect the school. For example, it had already declared last year that new students would not be recruited into the school and now claims that there are "too few" students, even though there were a lot of people who wanted to study there. Students and teachers complained that the administration does a lot to impede the development of the school, wasting the facilities and talents of the teaching staff.

* The local mayor and vice-mayor were appointed by the President of the City after years of manipulation. These people are put here with a purpose: to try to maximally control what is going on in the neighbourhood, using as many decrees and undemocratic processes as possible. For these services, they are highly rewarded. Last week it came out that the local mayor was given the highest bonus in the city for his job - despite having one of the worst financial records. This public scandal, which shows the systematic favouritism and awarding of heavy bonuses to politically loyal cronies, was major news in the city, especially due to the fact that the city tried everything to deny public access to information about the bonuses of such functionaries and the information was published only because somebody managed to leak it. This is how the local government looks. It is also worth noting that although all politicians are required by law to submit a yearly financial statement and this is always published on the internet, there are no statements available for either the Mayor or Vice-Mayor appointed by the President. All of this together creates an atmosphere of political hostility and opposition which partly explains some of the local politicians' behaviour.