Art Teachers Demand Salaries and Arrears
Teachers of the various art schools in the Gurjaani district demand that they be paid their salaries. Teachers of the music schools in the villages of Kachreti, Vachnadzeani, Velistsikhe, Kardenakhi and Gurjaani have not received their salaries for November and December of 2007. They are also in arrears for the January 2008 salary as well. The arrears are adding up in spite of many empty promises made by local government. The reason for the delay and non-payment, as local public officials claim, is simply the absence of funds for this purpose in the local budget.
Gurjaani District is the only district throughout Georgia where employees of institutions that are funded from state budget have not received back salaries that are owned from last year.
Ana Kutibishvili, the head of the Financial Department of the Gurjaani Administration Board explained that the problem they face is because of the resolution passed by the Minster of Culture back on October 9 2007, whereby art schools were abolished as public legal entities. In accordance to the same resolution, if local governments would seek to continue the operation of any art school in the district, then the institutions should have been re-registered as a non-profit organization than compared with the status of being governmental supported
Ana Kutibashvili also told that that the delay in salary distribution was caused by this process. She claimed that the schools were re-registered late.
“After the registration music schools were functioning on governmental subsidies, and this does not cover all expenses. Thus, teachers should have received their salaries from the fees the pupils are paid to the school in parallel to the funds allocated from the local budget. I think the problem will be resolved within the next two weeks,” said Ana Kutibashvili.
The directors of the music schools claim the opposite. They claim that the delay associated with the re-registration of the schools was the result of the local government’s motionless and not being active in doing their job.
“We were waiting for the district municipality to discuss our issue during a session of local government. It was only possible to be registered as a non-profit organization after they has discussed our problem. However, the public officials claimed that they could not talk about our question because they were waiting for the regional administration to provide them with some directions on the issue. The municipality officials informed us that the regional administration had submitted the project late,” said Lali Mininoshvili, the director of the Union of Gurjaani Art Schools.
Several days ago, teachers organized protest demonstration in front of the Gurjaani Administrative building. However, nobody from the local government was present to meet them to discuss their concerns.
The Human Rights Center has been in touch with Ramaz Kerechashvili, Gurjaani Municipality Governor, to find out when the teachers from art schools will receive their salaries. However, the governor did not wish to comment on the situation
Gela Mtvilsivhili, Kakheti
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