Posted March. 31, 2005 23:51,
The Constitutional Court ruled that imposing so-called Charge for School Site on residents in apartment with more than 300 households under the Special Act on Securing School Site is unconstitutional. It stated that the provision goes against the principle of free-of-charge mandatory education.
The Full Panel of the Constitutional Court (Chief Justice Kim Gyeong-il) delivered this ruling of unconstitutionality in the suit brought by the Incheon District Court, after accepting requests from more than 150 residents, on offending provisions of the special act.
Ruled unconstitutional was the provision imposing school site charge on residents in apartment with more than 300 households. The court said, The school site is an essential infrastructure for the nation to conduct mandatory education, adding, To that end, required costs should come from the national budget. Overall, the current provision goes against the Constitutional guarantee that mandatory education is to be provided free of charge.
The court remarked, There is no rational ground for imposing unilateral costs on residents based on their number without taking their housing situations into consideration.
The school zone fees started being levied in 2001 when local governments instituted related provisions, but as the question of its unconstitutionality became controversial, residents flatly opposed it and the number of delinquents increased.
The government amended the provision, downgrading the quota to 100 households instead of 300 and changing the category of payers to land developers, and put the revised provision into effect from the end of March. However, as the court has ruled the act of collecting such moneys unconstitutional, constitutional petition against the amended version is expected to be filed as well.
Mr. Gwak and others, owners of the newly built apartments in Geoman District No. 2 in Seo-gu, Incheon, filed a lawsuit after being required to pay the fees by the Seo-gu Office. The Incheon District Court subsequently appealed to the Constitutional Court for the ruling on the case.