Calabria, the Council approves the school sizing plan: “goodbye” to 79 autonomies

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By John

After a long gestation period, there is white smoke: the Regional Council has approved the new school sizing plan for the year 2024/25. An operation to rationalize the network which has seen, since the preliminary stages, the involvement of all the bodies: the Region, the Calabria school office, trade union organisations, the Provinces and the metropolitan city of Reggio Calabria.
«They were undoubtedly – notes the vice president of the Calabrian executive, Giusi Princi – intense and not easy months. According to what is indicated by the Pnrr criteria, there were in fact 79 autonomies that Calabria had to reduce. A high number because, compared to other regions of Italy which have carried out downsizing every two years, in Calabria the last one dates back to 2012. In the criteria for preparing the provincial plans proposed by the Region, which we strongly wanted with President Occhiuto, it is it was highlighted to safeguard internal areas and isolated municipalities”.

«The regional guidelines, unlike those of other Regions – continues Princi – have not foreseen, in fact, a minimum or maximum number of students for the purposes of maintaining school autonomy, but have directed the Provinces to maintain the school managements and, therefore, autonomies in internal areas or, in any case, in those territories where situations of socio-economic hardship are greatest. The provincial bodies were provided, by the Region, with a precious tool which is the observatory for the right to education, through which it was possible to have a georeferenced reading of the territories with the exact mapping of the most critical areas, so-called “red dots”. ”. This has allowed the Provinces to maintain scholastic autonomy in institutions, located in internal areas, with just 300 students. In parallel with the rationalization of the network, the training offer was updated with the authorization of new study directions consistent with the vocations of the territories and with job and development prospects of the reference areas”.
What changes now? The loss of autonomy, clarifies the vice president, will not lead to the closure of the school complexes which will continue to operate in the reality in which they have always been, guaranteeing the same services to students and families with the teaching staff and ATA.
«A lot has been done – claims Princi -, but a lot can still be done to improve the plan, declares the vice president. In the coming years, having intervened powerfully in this phase, we will be able to work, in agreement with all the institutions, with small adjustments to the school network, functional to the needs of the territories. I would like to clarify that the partial changes made by the Region with respect to the plan approved by the provinces were linked to non-consistency with the guidelines and in any case to what had already been highlighted to the same bodies with comments. Also in this case, the operations were coordinated with the same provincial bodies to which the law refers the merger and aggregation prerogatives”.
«It was an arduous challenge – concludes Princi, on the sidelines of the session that gave the green light to the expected provision – which Calabria faced by working in advance and managing the processes, rather than risking the administration of a commissioner as is being risked elsewhere. I thank all the bodies with which we have discussed intensely over these months, the education department in the person of the general director Maria Francesca Gatto and above all the sector manager Anna Perani”. Also in yesterday’s session, ministerial resources amounting to almost 800 thousand euros were directed towards the provision of vouchers for recreational and sports activities for children and young people resident in Calabria, aged between 6 and 13, who they add to the same number of resources already provided for sports vouchers intended for the 14-24 age group.