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Kaja Kallas: We are adding €8 million to state budget to raise teacher pay

Kaja Kallas and Kristina Kallas.
Kaja Kallas and Kristina Kallas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

A government press conference on Thursday confirmed that €8 million designated for increasing minimum teacher salaries, which were left out from the state budget due to an oversight in procedure, will be added to it immediately.

Kaja Kallas cited procedural oversight as the reason why the government did not hold an e-session on Monday to approve the addition of 8 million to the state budget and said that a legal solution will be found soon.

"Education Minister Kristina Kallas (Eesti 200) allocated €8 million from the Ministry of Education's resources to increase the minimum salary for teachers. There was a procedural "mix-up" in that we didn't get around to including it in the state budget law on time for the confidence vote in the Riigikogu. But the important thing is that the money is there, and how it will be formalized technically," the prime minister said.

Kaja Kallas did not want to specify who was responsible for this procedural oversight. "What does it do now? We need to focus on getting this thing done. There are many different issues to resolve /.../ all within a very short time frame. But what matters is that we get this done," Kaja Kallas said.

Education Minister Kristina Kallas agreed with the prime minister that there was no need to look for the culprit. "I think so too. The political agreements are there, the money is there, and now the amendments can be done in the national budget. I don't see any obstacles at the moment – we are merely looking for technical solutions now," Kallas said.

He explained that work to add these funds to the national budget started on Friday afternoon. "But this is not a process that can be done in a couple of hours. All the parties actually did their work, the officials worked over the weekend, the ministers worked over the weekend, there is no point in looking for blame here. Nor can it be said to the public that anyone did not do their job. There is no point in saying that to anyone. It's just that the," Kristina Kallas said.

On Thursday morning, however, the Education Minister was considerably more critical of the coalition parties. Kristina Kallas told Eesti Päevaleht that the Reform Party's claim that the funds were not included in the budget, because there was no agreement is false. "Just an attack on me," Kristina Kallas said.

Kallas also told the publication that Monday's government e-session was cancelled by Gerrit Mäesalu, head of the prime minister's office.

During the press conference, Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets (SDE) provided clarification that the e-session slated for Monday at 2:00 p.m. was canceled due to his inability to reach a decision regarding the Social Democratic Party's requested salary increase for kindergarten instructors. Neither was he aware of the dire time constraints.

"I don't know why, even though we usually work until 5 p.m., we didn't do this session later," Läänemets added.

Gerrit Mäesalu told ERR that the reason for not holding the session at a later time was lack of time.

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Editor: Mari Peegel, Kristina Kersa

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