Further training, repairs, extra funding, library equipment – the list of small and big wishes that Berlin schools have been able to fulfill thanks to their flexible funds is long. They have known for a month that the new austerity budget will take away almost all of their available assets. Now there is another certainty: the amount of millions is lost for a long time. CDU deputy Katharina Günther-Wünsch found out about this through a request to the Senate Education Department. The answer is available in advance at the Tagesspiegel.
Because the response from Secretary of State Alexander Slotty (SPD) states that the new savings amount will not only apply to the 2022/23 double budget, but will be “fixed”. The austerity measure should apply to the entire legislature. Slotty does not open a perspective that could mean a change within this one. This means that 13 million euros would be lost in five years, for a total of 65 million euros.
This large sum should further increase the willingness of schools to fight against the contraction of the so-called emergency fund, which they have been able to use to finance their priorities for five years. But what does this mean? And what exactly is lost?
Günter-Wünsch, who is also an education policy spokesperson for his group in the House of Representatives, asked. You can then see from Slotty’s answers where this roughly € 15 million has gone so far, of which it is now said that only two million remain per year. The schools used most of the funds, ie four million euros, individually. These could then be musical instruments or sports equipment.
Another million went to independent suppliers for additional offers or went into building maintenance. On average, schools had € 20,000 available for this, while large schools could get a maximum of € 25,600. In the future, all around 700 public schools will receive only € 3,000 each.
The schools are again completely dependent on the districts for repairs
Schools do not accept the school administration’s statement that maintenance funds of € 3.5 million are not lost, but remain in the district budget, as districts are not obliged to respect schools’ wishes and priorities . Rather, it will again be the case in the future that districts will “decide” how these funds are used, as Slotty says.
This means that, as was the case previously during the savings years, each individual school will depend on the goodwill, budgeting skills and understanding of the respective school authority. However, school administrations do not want to settle for this addiction – some schools call it “being at the mercy”.
As reported, their associations are of the opinion that the independent school sanctioned by the education law is hardly compatible with such minimal financial flexibility as the available fund, which has been reduced to only 3000 euros, grants them.
CDU: “Schools must cover a full table from an empty basket”
Günther-Wünsch, who was part of the management team of the Walter Gropius School in Neukölln until his election in the autumn and who therefore knows and appreciates the different possible uses of the fund, wanted to know from the education administration what possibilities the Senate, the schools to give financial flexibility.
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Slotty’s answer refers to the schools’ other “support programs” as well as replacement budgets and teaching and learning materials. However, these budgets are all closely tied to specifics and offer little flexibility, especially since not all schools benefit from support programs.
“This means that the Senate is in fact burying the independent and self-sufficient school,” concludes the CDU deputy. He also fears that schools “will enter an even worse structural condition”.
Furthermore, a large number of individual projects that serve to specifically support and challenge students will no longer be possible. Günther-Wünsch concludes that schools are “once again obliged to set a full table from an empty basket”.