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Dispute over money: Daycare fees cause frustration among parents in the Rhein-Sieg district

Dispute over money : Daycare fees cause frustration among parents in the Rhein-Sieg district

Some municipalities in the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis are charging the full amount of daycare and OGS fees, even though the offerings are limited. While parents are angry, a dispute is raging in politics about how to proceed.

There is resentment on all sides. The reason for it: the Kita and OGS fees. In some municipalities in the Rhine Sieg region they are raised up-to-date in total although the care offer cannot be taken up partly due to the restrictions. This causes incomprehension and anger among many parents. However, the hands of the municipalities are tied, because an independent decision to waive the daycare fees is usually not possible for financial reasons. Many municipalities in the district are in a state of budgetary emergency and therefore cannot completely waive the fees.

This is the case in Sankt Augustin, for example. There, to the displeasure of many parents, the fees were collected in the normal amount from February to May. This affected eight elementary schools, one special school and 36 daycare centers in the city. "Since Sankt Augustin is still in budget protection, there is no leeway to waive the parental fees," explains Carolin Trost, press spokeswoman for the city. The situation is the same in Hennef, where fees continue to be levied as there is still no agreement between the associations and the state. "As a municipality, we urgently wish for a quick agreement in the interests of the parents," explains Hennef press spokesperson Dominique Müller-Grote.

In Siegburg the fees for March were not taken off

In Siegburg the situation is viewed somewhat differently. There, due to the ongoing pandemic situation, the parental fees for March had not been drawn, as Jan Gerull, press spokesman of the district town informed us. "However, the city has informed parents that they may still have to pay if there is no agreement with the state (as in January)," Gerull said. For the months of April and May, however, the debit had happened normally, with the exception of the fees for the OGS. These were omitted due to the emergency care for May.

On the right bank of the Rhine, the municipalities are proceeding somewhat differently again. The city administration in Rheinbach is waiting for a decision from the state of NRW. "Only when there is a corresponding offer from the state to contribute to the costs of day care for children/day care for children and the open all-day school and after-school care, the main committee will make a decision in a special meeting," informs the city administration in Rheinbach. Since February no more parents fees are raised there for this reason.

Bornheim waives parent fees for May and June

Bornheim is taking a similar approach. In order to relieve parents during the pandemic period, the city council recently decided not to collect parent fees for May and June. The waiver means the city will miss out on revenue of around 680,000 euros for both months. In order to minimize the workload, the city of Bornheim will therefore not collect parent fees for daycare centers and OGS in June and July. If the state does not contribute to the costs after all, the contribution can be isolated as a corona-related loss in the municipal budget.

The leading municipal associations in North Rhine-Westphalia have been in contact with the state government for months in order to determine a regulation for the reimbursement of parental fees for the period from February to May and to agree on a participation of the state in the costs. However, a decision on this has yet to be made.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia expects the municipalities to share the costs

Earlier this month, it was reported that the state of NRW had reached an agreement with the leading municipal associations to forego collecting the fees for the months of May and June, but according to the NRW Association of Towns and Municipalities, this does not correspond to what is actually happening. NRW Family Minister Joachim Stamp (FDP) had previously announced that he wanted to make the months of May and June completely contribution-free. "We want to waive half of the fees for parents for this period in total due to the restrictions in the first half of 2021. This means that after the non-contributory month of January, the months of May and June will also be made non-contributory," Stamp said. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia expects, according to a submission of the budget and finance committee of the state parliament available to the GA, that the municipalities will contribute equally to the costs.

However, the municipal umbrella organizations considered this offer insufficient and therefore rejected it. "The Presidium welcomes the continued fundamental willingness of the state to participate in the reimbursement of daycare and OGS fees.However, the proposal submitted by the state is considered insufficient. The presidency expects a half participation in defaulting parent fees from the federal state", as announced in the presidency resolution of the city and municipality federation North Rhine-Westphalia which was presented to the GA.

The municipal umbrella organisations in North Rhine-Westphalia have been in contact with the state government for months in order to determine a regulation for the reimbursement of parental fees for the period from February to May and to agree on a participation of the state in the costs. However, a decision on this has yet to be made.

(Original text: Annika Schmidt, Dylan Cem Akalin and Hans-Peter Fuss, Translation: Mareike Graepel)