It was agreed during the prime minister's conversation with Minister of Education and Science Dainius Pavalkis.
"We'll be looking for ways to allocate funds – from 350,000 to 400,000 litas – from the state budget," Butkevičius said. His position was communicated to BNS by his spokeswoman Evelina Butkutė-Lazdauskienė.
Earlier this week, Polish Lithuanians turned to Lithuanian leaders asking them to mediate in the dialogue with Polish authorities for three schools in Navinykai, Pristavonys and Vidugiriai not to be closed.
In response, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Prime Minister Butkevičius said Lithuania should find ways to help its nationals in Poland and said they also expected more help for Lithuanian education from Poland.
Vytautas Liškauskas, mayor of Punsk Gmina, said the gmina council would analyze to what extent Lithuania's financial assistance could help avoid school closures. the decision on which is expected next week.
"It's a step in the right direction. But I always ask why Lithuania should help and not Poland. It's a question without an answer," Liškauskas told BNS.
In late 2011, the Government of Lithuania allocated LTL 350,000 from the Privatization Fund to Lithuanian schools in Punsk. It was the first time Lithuanian authorities provided direct financial support to Lithuanian schools in Poland. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said then that "Poland's education policy is not favorable to Lithuanian schools."
If the three schools were closed, it would be possible to attend classes in the Lithuanian language only in Punsk's Darius and Girėnas school and the March 11 lyceum as well as Žiburys school in Sejny which survive only on financial support from Lithuania.
Polish Lithuanians say that a year and a half ago, Poland's Ministry of Education acknowledged the problem of Lithuanian schools and promised to increase the student's basket for Lithuanian schools by 80 percent but it grew only 20 percent.
There are currently at least 10 Polish schools in Lithuania with fewer than 50 students. For example, six students attend Tabariškės lower-secondary school in Šalčininkai District, and 17 students attend Dailidės lower-secondary school.
Municipality cannot support schools
The municipality cannot afford to support the schools of national minorities without outside help, says Punsk area elder Vytautas Liškauskas in response to Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski's statements that the Lithuanian-language schools in the area are being closed by the local administration dominated by Lithuanians.
"The legal system forces us to close down the schools, as supporting them is up to the municipality, funds from the student basket do not cover all costs. We asked to raise the student basket for national minority schools by 80 percent but it was raised by merely 20 percent under a decree signed in December 2012, and in our case, we received about 300,000 zlotys additionally instead of 1 million zlotys, we are incapable of supporting the schools, as the burden is double," Liškauskas told BNS on Friday.
The Polish foreign minister, Sikorski, told Brussels journalists earlier this week that decisions to close the Lithuanian-language schools in Poland were made by municipalities.