Court rejects Metsküla school closure legal protection appeal

Metsküla school, on being presented with the School of the Year award 2023.
Metsküla school, on being presented with the School of the Year award 2023. Source: Rait-Roland Veskemaa/ERR

A rural school in western Estonia which is facing closure has had its second application for legal protection denied, regional daily Lääne Elu reports.

The school, in Metsküla, Lääne County, has seen its situation unchanged after the first-tier administrative court found no new circumstances had emerged compared with its earlier application for legal protection, meaning that this was not granted.

Lääneranna  Rural Municipality's decision to close the school thus remains in place.

Metsküla was chosen as school of the year at the end of the last academic year.

On March 24, Lääneranna Rural Municipality had ruled that the Metsküla elementary school (Metsküla Algkool), along with another school at  Lõpe, Pärnu County would be closed, while a third school, at Virtsu, Lääne County would transition into a four-grade school from its current elementary school status.

Additionally, the Varbla and Koonga schools (both in Pärnu County) are to become six-grade institutions from the fall of 2024.

The Metsküla, Lõpe and Virtsu schools were able to obtain preliminary legal protection from the Tallinn Administrative Court, but the municipality appealed this at the second-tier district court, successfully as it turned out, leaving parents just a couple of months to find replacement schooling options for their children.

Since legal protection would not make any difference to this time-scale, the district court found, the administrative court cannot apply legal protection again for the same reason.

The Tallinn District Court, in turn, decided to cancel the preliminary legal protection of both Metsküla, Lõpe and VIrtsu schools, saying that the Lääneranna municipal authority has been searching for a reasonable solution for a long period of time, to reconcile the availability of education for children and the municipality's financial obligations, while in the court's opinion, there have been no obvious errors of consideration on these matters.

Two private schools and several kindgergartens also operate in Lääneranna's jurisdiction.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: Lääne Elu

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