Bonn · Contrary to what was announced, the city of Bonn has now collected the full fees for all-day schools and day care centres for the month of June. In compensation, it is planned to suspend the collection for July.
Last week, Bonn's Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan announced that for June and July parents should pay only 20 per cent of the fees for all-day comprehensive schools (OGS) and 50 per cent for kindergartens and day care centres. Yet, this week the full amount was withdrawn. In return, the payments should be scrapped in July, as the city council announced on Wednesday.
"In my view, this is badly managed by the city council," writes Michael Faber, leader of the left-wing parliamentary group, to the GA. "Many have probably prepared themselves for the fact that there will be no or only reduced debiting, as in April and May. We are talking about contributions of a few hundred Euro. The administration, in his opinion, should have been prepared to avoid excessive debits. Likewise, this reduction does not go far enough for him. "The previously announced cancellation of two halves of the fees only compensated for the fact that the daycare centers had been closed for three months since March." There will be no compensation for parents for the limited care of 35 hours maximum starting next week.
Collection of payments could not be stopped in time
The city stated on Wednesday: "Since the collection of the payments for the month of June could not be stopped in time, the full regular contribution for June will be collected", said press spokesman Marc Hoffmann. In July, the collection will be suspended. "Parents who transfer the fees themselves can transfer the pro-rata amounts deposited on the website www.bonn.de/kinderbetreuung or pay the amount and suspend payment in July." Any overpayments are to be refunded at the end of July. A notice should be sent in the course of this month. Hoffmann explains that the reduction for the area of open comprehensive schools is as high as 80 percent, because "primary school children can only visit their OGS on one day per week.
But what was the reason for the debit of the full contributions? This was due to a so called „Eilentscheidung“, a rapid decision, explains Brigitte Poppe-Reiners, district mayor and Green politician. "The urgent decision, on the basis of which the city council will waive 50 percent of the parents' fees for attending day care facilities for the months of June and July 2020, was made legally effective on 3 June," says Poppe-Reiners. In addition to a notification to the parents, the information was also to be published on the Internet. Poppe-Reiners is very pleased that "a good solution could be found" with the abolition of the fees in July.
(How) Whether this will continue into August remains unclear
FDP faction leader Werner Hümmrich shows understanding for the parents: "It is unfortunate and annoying for those affected that the daycare and OGS fees for the month of June have now been debited in full. The expectations were different." However, since the mayor had already announced that collection would be suspended in July, an acceptable solution to the problem had been found from the FDP's point of view.
The food money for June and July for the municipal facilities will also be collected, the city announced, as lunch will be provided again. For the OGS area, only 20 percent of the contribution is to be debited. "The reimbursement of the lunch money in case of possible overpayments will take place at a later date," Hoffmann said. "How things will continue from August on, we cannot say at this time.
The city has decided to waive 2.9 million Euro
With the reduction of the parental payments for June and July, the city, according to its own statements, is waiving around 2.9 million Euro. Parents of about 20,000 children who attend a kindergarten, daycare center or an all-day comprehensive school in the area of the youth welfare office will be affected.
The chairperson of the youth office parents' advisory board, Suna Rausch, expressed disappointment. The parents' council finds it regrettable that the city of Bonn, in contrast to many other municipalities, was not able to completely waive contributions for the months of June and July. "This would have been a good relief for the parents, especially since for most of the children the day-care centres were closed for a total of about three months from mid-March onwards. However, contributions were only waived for two months.
The reduction of the contributions by half was generous at first sight, but in view of the reduction of the care times by ten hours, it actually corresponded to the actual scope of benefits.“ Rausch further clarifies that the city council must already consider a solution from August onwards now. "In our opinion, the full Kita fees can only be levied again when the reduction in care times is lifted." If the childcare hours remain shortened, Rausch said that the parent fees must be adjusted.
Original text: Thomas Leurs. Translation: Mareike Graepel