School budgets affected by COVID-19
Government officials deny any possible monetary shortages
Several Norwegian schools have said that they have had to cut substitutes and lay off teachers due to extra expenses because of the coronavirus measures, but the Norwegian government denies that this is the case.
In addition, Klassekampen has reported that several schools cannot afford to buy new schoolbooks this year.
In particular, the expenses for personal protection equipment and extra staffing to prevent the risk of infection are burdening already tight school budgets. In Trondheim municipality, the schools have been informed that extra expenses for COVID-19 measures must be covered by the regular budget. In Kristiansand, four teaching positions at two schools have been cut so far, while in Stavanger a cut of NOK 123 million has been announced in the primary school and kindergarten sector.
Steffen Handal, head of the education association, is seriously concerned about what lies ahead and says he is worried that vulnerable students will once again be affected.
The government has promised that all extra COVID-19 expenses will be compensated, but in many municipalities, the additional expenses are not fully covered, according to Klassekampen.
These assertions have been rejected by Minister of Local Government and Modernization Nikolai Astrup, who said that the government has made it clear that it will compensate for the additional expenses and lower revenues the municipalities are experiencing as a result of the pandemic.
Astrup pointed out that the municipalities have so far received NOK 16.5 billion in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We ask the municipalities not to reduce what they offer to children and young people as a result of the coronavirus,” said Astrup.
Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 4, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.