The Tallinn city government regulation establishing the conditions and procedures to determine into which municipal school a child is allocated is unconstitutional

26 September 2011

The regulation of the Tallinn city government does not consider the will of the legislator. According to the regulation, only the parents' choice for the particular school is taken into account when determining the school of residence, while other criteria set out in the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act are disregarded. In other cases, the will of the parents is not taken into consideration at all. The Chancellor of Justice also pointed out that the schools' internal rules determining admission to the particular school are unlawful. The Chancellor of Justice came to the conclusion that the whole procedure provided by the regulation in question is not clear, needlessly complicated, and insufficient.

The legislator has foreseen that municipalities are obliged to determine the school of residence for each child. According to the law, a local municipality should first of all base its decision for determining to which school a child must be admitted on the following criteria: the distance between the school and the residence of the child, whether any family members of the child are studying at the same school, and, if possible, the parents' wishes. It is obligatory to take these circumstances that are listed in law into consideration first of all and they cannot be replaced by other criteria. All three circumstances must be assessed simultaneously. However, the parents' wishes should only be taken into consideration if it is possible to do so.