Lawyers Attempt to Shutdown Constitutional Change

By , 23 Nov 2017, 18:51 PM Politics
Seat of the Constitutional Court of Slovenia Seat of the Constitutional Court of Slovenia Neža Lostrek

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Row over public funding of private education continues.

November 23, 2017

Three constitutional lawyers. Matej Avbelj, Andraž Teršek in Jurij Toplak, appealed in a public letter today on Thursday to the National Assembly and Prime Minister Miro Cerar to stop the process of constitutional change regarding the public funding of private elementary schools which started with the National Assembly's vote on Tuesday.

The new constitution would make a clear distinction between private and public elementary schools, and full public funding would only be guaranteed to the latter, while private schools' financing would be regulated by the National Assembly. The current legislation, which allows for public funding of accredited private school programmes to the sum of 85% of the public-school funding, was declared unconstitutional three years ago when the Constitutional Court ruled that private schools should receive the same amount of funding per pupil as public ones. The National Assembly’s Education Committee had been working on an amendment to Article 86 of the Organisation and Financing of Education Act until the end of October this year, when it decided to opt for a constitutional change instead.

The three constitutional lawyers in their public letter criticize the decision on legal and moral grounds, stating: “The ruling coalition, led by a constitutional law professor, had been for more than three years simply ignoring the Constitutional Court’s decision. The rights of Slovenian children and their parents to equality before the law in the field of elementary education remained violated. Such actions are constitutionally unacceptable. In light of the fact, that human rights are a reflection of political morality, they are also morally wrongful.”

They went on to call out the Assembly’s decision to use the legal tool of a constitutional amendment, writing: "It is not only about the failure to comply with the Constitutional Court's decision and the violation of constitutional rights of children and their parents, but it is above all about the violation of the essence of constitutional democracy. In case of its realization, the decision would be sanctioned by the Constitutional Court's decision on unconstitutionality of this constitutional amendment.”

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