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New minister gains Babiš’ pledge of extra money for schools

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Prague, June 23 (CTK) – The brand-new Czech education minister, Katerina Valachova, has gained Finance Minister Andrej Babis’s promise to increase the Education Ministry’s draft 2016 budget by 1.5 billion crowns, Valachova said after meeting Babis yesterday, but added that she would ask Babis for a further increase.
The promised 1.5 billion crowns will be spent to cover the increasing number of schoolchildren, Valachova (for the Social Democrats, CSSD), said on Czech Television (CT).
Valachova, who was appointed minister a week ago, said the Education Ministry’s budget for 2015 is 128.81 billion crowns.
In addition, it is entitled to draw subsidies from the EU funds.
The draft state budget for 2016, which Babis (ANO) presented earlier this month, projected the Education Ministry’s budget at 131.07 billion crowns.
Valachova yesterday said she wants it to be further raised by Babis, in addition to the increase he promised yesterday.
She will demand a four-billion-crown increase, compared with the original draft, she said.
Of the extra four billion, 400 million would be spent on handicapped children’s inclusion in mainstream schools, and 3.5 billion would be used to finance sports, Valachova said.
Babis confirmed to CT that he has promised to raise the ministry’s draft budget by 1.5 billion crowns in view of the strong generation of children attending primary schools.
In the past years, the highest number of children, 119,600, were born in 2008.
A total of 118,700 and 117,400 were born in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
In the following years, the number of newborn children dropped by about 10,000.
Talks between Babis and other ministers about the 2016 budget bill will run through the end of summer when the bill’s final shape will be discussed by the cabinet.
($1=23.981 crowns)

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