With the proposal to open an Emef (municipal elementary school) within the Liceu Coração de Jesus, the Ricardo Nunes (MDB) administration advances with the expansion of the third sector’s performance in the management of education in São Paulo.
In August, after the Lyceum directors announced the school’s closure, the mayor proposed opening a municipal school on the site to be managed by the institution’s priests. The agreement, according to him, takes place on an exceptional basis to guarantee the continuity of the Lyceum.
The proposal is in line with the policy defended by Nunes, the agreement of teaching units in the city. Currently, agreements with social organizations only occur in early childhood education, with day care centers — a model that has already motivated investigations by the Civil Police, the Federal Police and the Public Ministry.
Now, Nunes extends the agreement model for the first time to elementary school with the school managed by the Liceu.
Despite claiming that the unit will be ready to receive students at the beginning of the next school year, the city has not yet defined how many places will be offered at the site or the cost of the agreement. There is also no word on when the contract will be signed.
According to the Municipal Education Department, a working group was formed, with representatives from the Liceu and the city hall, to study the physical and material needs for the installation of the municipal school. THE Sheet tried to contact the Lyceum administration, but received no response.
The constitutionality of the project is seen with disagreement among specialists. Some of them argue that the Constitution only authorizes the use of public resources for community, philanthropic or denominational schools (Liceu’s situation) when there is a lack of vacancies in the public network.
“The Constitution also says that the investment has to be made primarily in its own network. The use for confessionals is only justified if there is a lack of vacancy in that region. If this is happening, the city hall needs to present a study, a diagnosis of lack vacancies”, says Alessandra Gotti, president of the Articule Institute and a PhD in Constitutional Law.
When questioned, the city government says there is no shortage of places in elementary school in the city.
Alexis Vargas, executive secretary of Strategic Projects at the city hall, says that there is a forecast of an increase in demand for more schools in the Liceu region, as affordable housing is being built in the center.
“We have 4,000 people going to live in Campos Elíseos with the construction of new homes. So there will be a demand for schools, which justifies the agreement”, he said.
Vargas denies that the agreement is unconstitutional and says that the MROSC (Regulatory Framework for Civil Society Organizations) gives the Executive freedom for a project of this type in education.
The secretary was not able to say whether the school, being managed by the Salesian priests, will maintain religious activities as is currently the case at the Lyceum.
Fernando Schüler, professor of public policies at Insper, also believes that the municipality is free to enter into an agreement with the Liceu for this stage of education. For him, what the Constitution prevents is the purchase of places in private institutions, such as vouchers, for example.
“The MROSC, since 2014, authorizes the contracting of any activity that is not the exclusive responsibility of the state. This is the case of education, which is offered privately, and can be contracted by the public power in the form of an agreement”, he says. .
A similar proposal, which authorizes the third sector to manage elementary and high schools, is being processed by the City Council, has been rejected by education servers. In two hearings to debate the project, civil servants protested against the initiative.