The state is prepared to nationalize Lüganuse School if Lüganuse Municipality withdraws its decision to close down the school, Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said Friday.
Lukas said that representatives of the Ministry of Education and Research had a constructive meeting with Lüganuse municipal leaders.
"The state wants to support the schools of Lüganuse Municipality, including the town of Kiviõli, as robustly as other major centers of Ida-Viru County — Narva, Sillamäe, Kohtla-Järve, Jõhvi — have been invested in," he said. "For the sake of organizing the school network, we're also prepared here to invest in study conditions and, by agreement, nationalize both Kiviõli [High School] and Lüganuse School."
According to the minister, he is basing this on three objectives: improving the vitality of Estonianness in Ida-Viru County, promoting children's education as well as the transition to Estonian-language education in all schools.
"Lüganuse Municipality will benefit directly as well," he added. "So the state is among other things prepared to nationalize Lüganuse School as well if Lüganuse Municipality withdraws its decision to close down the school. Lüganuse School will be staying."
Lüganuse Municipal Council had decided this spring to close down two of its five general education schools as of this fall, citing the declining population as well as expensive upkeep of the schools.
While the announced closure of Sonda Elementary School, which had six students, did not spark any objections, the plan to close Lüganuse School, which has 60 students, was met with outrage in the local community.
Lüganuse Deputy Municipal Mayor Arno Rossman told ERR in May that the municipal council decision was a reorganization of the local school network, and that the municipality believes that this step cannot be postponed any longer.
Parents of Lüganuse School students won provisional legal protection from an administrative court in May which annulled the validity of the decision to close down the school. The municipality appealed the ruling, however a second-tier circuit court likewise sided with the parents.
Established in the merger of the towns of Kiviõli and Püssi and the municipalities of Lüganuse, Maidla and Sonda, the current Lüganuse Municipality has a population of 8,200.
Editor: Aili Vahtla