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Proposal: Savings in Early Childhood Education and Basic Education amounting to approximately 8.2 million euros

Published: 12.4.2024

The City of Vaasa’s economic balancing program for the years 2024–2027 also affects early childhood education and basic education activities. The Education Committee will discuss cost-saving measures at its meeting on April 17, 2024. After the committee’s discussion, the savings proposals will proceed to the City Board and City Council.

The City of Vaasa is implementing an economic balancing programme. The goal of the programme is to find savings of approximately 40–50 million euros in the city’s operations for the years 2024–2027. The pressure for savings is largely due to the generally weakened financial situation of municipalities, resulting from reduced amounts of both tax revenue and central government transfers to the municipal governments. Several other municipalities in Finland are facing the same situation.

– Savings in education will not affect statutory services such as the number of staff in early childhood education. In basic education, the amount of teaching hours, or annual teaching hours, is proposed to be reduced as little as possible (0.02 annual teaching hours), to ensure that the core mission of education is not compromised, says Christina Knookala, Director of Education.

Proposed savings in Basic Education

The committee is proposed to seek the largest savings in basic education by closing Tervajoki School (autumn 2026), discontinuing the school coaching activities in secondary schools, and discontinuing morning and afternoon activities for 1st and 2nd grade students from autumn 2025 onwards, which are not statutory activities.

The proposal also suggests raising the mileage limit for free-of-charge school transportation to match the minimum limit set by law. According to the proposal, the mileage limit for free school transportation for 1st and 2nd grade students would increase to five kilometres, instead of the previous three.

Free school transportation for education in English, in language immersion in Swedish, and in the music classes would also be discontinued.

Proposed savings in early childhood education

The largest savings in early childhood education are proposed to be achieved by closing Tervajoki Daycare Centre (2026) and Leipuri Daycare Centre (July 31, 2025). Additionally, it is proposed to close the group family daycare Veitikka (July 31, 2025).

Savings are achieved by discontinuing open early childhood education activities in May 2024 and by closing Klemettilä Daycare Centre on June 30, 2024. The decision to discontinue open early childhood education and Klemettilä Daycare Centre was made in November 2023.

In addition to the above, savings would be sought by centralising non-standard hour daycare services to only one daycare centre (Punahilkka Daycare Centre). This would result in ending non-standard hour daycare services at Villi Länsi Daycare Centre on August 1, 2024.

Proposed savings in upper secondary education, adult education, and youth services

Savings proposals have also been listed for vocational and general upper secondary institutions, adult education centres, and youth services, which will be discussed by the Education Committee on April 18, 2024.

The largest savings were achieved at Vamia, where separate co-determination negotiations were held. These took place in January.

At the Adult Education Centre Alma, as well as in basic art education at Kuula-opisto and Taikon, savings are sought by, among other measures, increasing customer fees and increasing class sizes.

In youth services, savings are sought by enhancing project activities, reducing the opening hours of youth clubs on Saturdays, and shortening the working hours of youth workers during summer weekend evenings.

Balancing the economy by 2027

The main purpose of the city’s adjustment plans is to seek permanent savings, achieve budget balance, and slow down debt accumulation. Savings must be made to balance the city’s budget by 2027.

Mayor Tomas Häyry wants to instil confidence in the future and look further ahead.

– Population growth and industrial investments suggest that better times are ahead, and we will be able to continue providing residents with good and high-quality services in the future. The demands for savings feel heavy for each of us, but together we will get through these difficult times.