The hearts of the liberals did not soften – the bulldozer started moving

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The miracle did not happen – at the meeting of the Tauragė district municipal council, 14 liberals decided the fate of the Tauragė rehabilitation center-school “Pušelė” and will evacuate the disabled children who have been educated in this institution for 30 years, transferring their education to the Skaudvilė education and child welfare center. The governing party of Tauragė did not take into account either the request of the “Pušelė” council not to carry out the reorganization of the institution, nor the proposal of the National Education Agency to leave disabled children in the “Pušelė” group. Perhaps for the first time, the liberals were also displeased by their political partners – both conservatives and “peasants” equated this decision to “walking with a bulldozer”.

“We are pushing the community aside with a bulldozer”

On Monday, March 25, when all council members were still considering the fate of “Pušele” operating in Taurage for almost 50 years, there were much more speeches and bitter retorts than when voting on this draft decision at the Wednesday meeting. Member of the Party of Regions Sigitas Kancevyčius, head of the Education Department, Jūratė Veisienė, asked that day why there was no response to the opinion of the “Pušelė” community, social democrat Rita Grigalienė asked why the community does not agree with the planned reorganization of the institution, whether only they will be taught in other facilities to which disabled children will be transferred. , whether healthy children will be educated here. Politician J. Veisienė tried to convince that the municipality responds to the opinion of the community, that even several meetings were held with the parents and teachers of disabled children, all their questions were answered, and the director of “Pušelės” Jovita Kiržgalvienė answered the question why the community does not agree with the reorganization:

– The community does not agree because these groups have been working in the institution for 30 years. This is part of the culture of Pušele. In fact, these classes have never bothered anyone, children are perfectly integrated and socialized.

It turned out that in other premises to which the disabled will be transferred, that is, in the former children’s care home, two groups of the “Kodělčiaus” kindergarten are currently operating and will continue to operate in the future. Some time ago, the head of the Education Department, J. Veisienė, doubted that it is appropriate to educate disabled teenagers next to healthy kindergartens, and that is why they are moved elsewhere. However, they will also be educated in the new facilities next to healthy children.

It was important for conservator Raimondis Matemaičius to know how many employees from “Pušelė” will be offered to move to the Skaudvilė education and child welfare center after the reorganization. It is calculated that 11 are for four special needs teachers, the same number of their assistants and three employment educators.

The members of the Fatherland Union, led by Andrius Burmistrov, opposed the ruling party for the first time. Photo by Morta Mikutytė

– There are three aspects to me in this place. One financial, another community dissatisfaction, this is a very socially sensitive group. Social Security never pays off. It is always with a minus sign. On behalf of the faction, we do not support this decision until it is discussed, when there will be no more bulldozing, – the chairman of the council’s conservative faction Andrius Burmistrovas addressed his colleagues.

Kęstutis Balašaitis, a member of the Union of Peasants and Greens, gave a similar reason for not supporting this decision:

– Money is an important issue, everyone needs it, but, gentlemen, let’s ask ourselves a question: don’t we have places where we may have to spend that money through irresponsible decisions? We are financing Bastille, we are financing the swimming pool, we are building the arena, huge money, won’t it also need to be co-financed? The peasant faction will not support this issue. It would turn out that way, we are pushing the community aside with a bulldozer, – said the council member.

Members of the Union of Peasants and Greens called the decision the “bulldozer” principle. Photo by Morta Mikutytė

Voted “for more money in education”

On Wednesday, several mothers raising disabled children came to watch the council meeting in the large municipality administration hall. The women assured that there would have been more of them, but other mothers with their children have gone to sanatoriums, are at work or have other urgent tasks. The meeting was broadcast live on the Internet. Usually only a dozen viewers watch the broadcasts of the council meetings, this time there were about 60 viewers, after the decision on “Pušelė” was approved, the “popularity” of the meeting decreased.

It is clear that the most important issue that day was the vote on the reorganization of the Pušelė rehabilitation center-school in Tauragė.

It is rare that all 25 council members gather for a council meeting. This time, surprisingly, all the chosen ones participated. The opposition, the Peasants and Greens Union and the Conservatives proposed that the issue be postponed, but the Liberals opposed it.

Jūratė Veisienė. Photo by Morta Mikutytė

Head of the Education and Sports Department J. Veisienė, introducing the question, announced that the letter delivered to the administration of the Pušelė council – that is, the institution’s community – municipality, in which it disagrees with the transfer of educational functions for disabled children to the Skaudvilė Education and Child Welfare Center, has been forwarded to the National Center for Education agency. According to J. Veisienė, the National Education Agency suggested taking into account the opinion of the community and presented the following alternatives – to connect the special classes of “Pušele” to some general education school or to leave everything as it is – this is in “Pušele”.

After J. Veisienė’s presentation, Mayor Dovydas Kaminskas appeared before the council with a pre-prepared speech. According to him, as he has already written on social networks, the municipality’s philosophy is to ensure good conditions for the education of disabled children.

– Now the state is following the path of integrating all children into general education schools, as far as I have talked with the community, with mothers who raise such children, I have no doubt that they know best what is good for their child, integration into schools is not necessarily good, – said the mayor, emphasizing that the Tauragė district municipal council has not and will not perform actions that would contradict this municipal philosophy.

The mayor mentioned the advantages that, in his opinion, will improve the education of disabled children in Taurage after the reorganization: repairs will be carried out in other premises, conditions will be adapted for children to spend time outdoors, and teachers who do not agree to move to another institution are said to be behaving incorrectly. According to D. Kaminskas, it is precisely those council members who will vote for this decision who care about the well-being of children, saying that they are voting “for more money in education”. After transferring disabled children to the Skaudvilė educational institution, the municipality will no longer have to contribute 100 thousand euros each year to finance their education.

The opposition bombarded the ruling party with questions. The head of the education department assured again that everything is only for the benefit of the children, several liberals – Darius Stankus and Vidas Bičkus were happy that from now on “Pušelė” will free up places for healthy children, their parents will be able to return to work, that the mayor explained everything very well and convinced them to vote for, and all the debate in the public space about this issue is a manipulation. It was strange for V. Biček that other members of the council “resist changes for the better”. All other members of the Liberal Movement did not say a word. As, by the way, it usually happens.

Two mothers of disabled children came to watch the politicians vote. Photo by Morta Mikutytė

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All 14 liberals voted for this draft decision: Laineda Ašmontienė, Rima Bandzinaitė-Latožienė, Vidas Bičkus, Linas Janušonis, Goda Košinskytė, Vilija Krūgelienė, Mantas Lukošaitis, Sigitas Mičiulis, Modestas Petraitis, Rasa Šerpytienė, Darius Stankus, Jovita Verpečinskienė, Justina Visockienė and Arūnas Vladička.

Before: Rita Grigalienė, Sigitas Kancevyčius, Rita Kurlinkienė, Pranas Petrosius, Matas Petraitis.

Kęstutis Balašaitis, Mindaugas Bakša, Andrius Burmistrvas, Virginija Eičienė, Raimondas Matemaitis, Darius Petrošius did not vote.

Council members vote on the reorganization of “Pušelė”. Photo by Morta Mikutytė

The reorganization of “Pušele” will be completed by August 31 of this year.


The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: hearts liberals soften bulldozer started moving

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