Palma.—First thing yesterday morning, over 100 parents, students and teachers mounted a demonstration outside the Ministry for Education in Palma in protest over the cuts to the education service during the summer. “My child will not start school like this” is the slogan of the protest campaign and many of the parents who have signed up to the protest have vowed to keep their children out of school for these first two days of the school term. The Institute of Secondary Education has joined the protest mounted by the Confederation of Parents Associations in the Balearics (COAPA) in Sineu, Marratxi, Josep Sureda and Blanes, a public school in Es Pont.

What is more, parents of pupils studying at Rafael Vell have decided that their children will not start the new term until the children's' toilets are in a proper condition to be used. COAPA President, Jaume Ribas, explained that yesterday's protest was to demonstrate to the local authorities just how angry parents and student are. Scores, he claimed, are unhappy with the situation caused by the austerity measures introduced over the long summer break. “But, it will last just two days, for the moment, and everyone will return to school on Monday when the term start for real.
Further protest “However, we will be monitoring the situation throughout the school year and if we see fit, further protests will be mounted,” he warned. “Unless we see any positive steps being taken by the Ministry for Education to improve the situation, we will have no option but to take to the streets again,” Ribas added. “The problem is out of our hands, it's up to the Minister. But the problem is not whether the kids go to school or not. It's what they will encounter when they get there. “Classes of 35 or more, less teachers and problem s with extra curriculum activities,” Ribas stressed.
The President of the Federation of Parents (FAPA Mallorca), Vicente Rodrigo, vowed not to give up the fight because “it is the future of our children which is at stake here. If we have to mount more protests, we will, all the ones we have to until something gets done,” he warned. Local union leaders also joined the protest. Gabriel Caldentey of the STEI-i teachers union said that the new school year is starting under very unusual and worrying circumstances. “We have 500 less teachers and, due to a change in the law, class sizes can be increased by as much as 20 percent. So in some cases, there can be as many as 40 student per class and that is unacceptable and counter-productive for both teachers and students,” he said.

What is more, he claims that the Balearic government owes local state schools around ten million euros in unpaid investment packages and that only four million has been released. “And, we have not received a cent over the past five months,” he added.
Trying times
These are trying times for parents and students alike. The “back to school” campaign has never been so expensive because of the increase in IVA/VAT at the beginning of the month. While parents are paying more to send their children to school, the standard of education they will be receiving will reportedly be poorer than last year because of the cuts to teachers and facilities.

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