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Schools: many private kindergartens are still waiting for funding



Some saw it as a gift given to private education. Intended to reduce inequalities from an early age, the lowering of compulsory education to 3 years, one of the measures of the Blanquer law of July 2019, has the indirect consequence of forcing, since 1er January 2020, the municipalities to pay a lump sum to private kindergartens under contract, as they already did for elementary school.

→ EXPLANATION. School: the eight main measures of the Blanquer law

But nearly three years after its adoption, this text is slow to produce its full effects. “In about one in five cases, the negotiations were unsuccessful”says Philippe Delorme, the general secretary of Catholic education.

Litigation

On paper, the rule is simple: for each euro spent per pupil in public education, town halls must pay one euro per private pupil. It is still necessary to agree on the cost of a pupil welcomed in the public.

“Some town halls, arguing that the school premises are also used for other activities, would like to define the amount of the fixed price in proportion to the number of hours of lessons. As if the buildings cost the community absolutely nothing at night, on weekends and during school holidays”annoyed Philippe Delorme. “Others refuse to take into account the work of administration or maintenance of green spaces carried out in kindergartens by municipal employees”he continues.

Dozens of legal disputes are ongoing, which rarely lead to a trial. “As soon as the appointed expert has submitted his report, the negotiations resume”assures the patron of Catholic education.

The cost of a kindergarten child is generally higher than that of an elementary school student. Indeed, the teacher is often assisted by an atsem (territorial agent specialized in nursery schools). The surface area per pupil is also greater, because the “little school” has motor skills and nap rooms.

The difference can sometimes reach 800 to 1,000 € per year and per student. “The payment of a municipal flat rate for our kindergartens represents a breath of fresh air for many establishments”greets Philippe Delorme.

The anger of some mayors

For the municipalities, in any case, the effects of the Blanquer law are not always painless. “This mandatory funding was imposed on us less than a year from the 2020 municipal elections, without being able to be integrated into our budgetary strategies.deplores Delphine Labails, president of the education commission at the Association of mayors of France and presidents of intercommunality (AMF). Many elected officials are fighting to keep their public schools open, and overnight they are being asked to fund the competition”.

→ READ. Presidential: what the parents of students in Catholic education offer

Only town halls which previously did not voluntarily fund private kindergartens can claim financial compensation from the state. “And again, provided that the additional expenditure on the nursery side is not already covered by a reduction in the elementary budget…”adds Delphine Labails.

“The worst thing is that, in some cases, the State only reimburses part of the additional expenses linked to the package, nursery and elementary combined”, she continues. And to cite the example of Cognac, which was offered compensation of up to 15% for additional charges of around €100,000.

“Battle”

Like this town in Charente, a dozen town halls have requested the intervention of the AMF. ” In questionshe further clarifies, the attitude of the State, which often disputes the fixed amounts calculated, taking into account ineligible expenses. For example, by including the salary of a full-time atsem in the large kindergarten section, while the presence of such an agent is only compulsory in the small section. »

“It is no longer enough to negotiate packages with Catholic education management bodies, today you have to fight with state services to obtain the promised compensation”concludes Delphine Labails. During the examination of the Blanquer law, the government estimated at 50 million euros per year the additional cost caused by the financing of private kindergartens.

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