Defending themselves against the targeted increase in fees: Kerstin Tetzel (left) and Cornelia Neidhart with daughter Cleo. Parts of the local council are absolutely not child- or family-friendly. Kerstin Tetzel © sas
An increase of a whopping 80 percent: The market town of Altomünster wants to massively increase kindergarten fees. There, among the parents, resistance is forming.
Altomünster – The 80 percent increase in kindergarten fees in the market town of Altomünster is currently making waves. The parents' councils are appalled. Most of the members of the municipal council, however, are behind the decision, which was passed with only three votes against.
"We were so shocked that we left the meeting after this agenda item," say Kerstin Tetzel, chairwoman of the parents' council of the Pipinsried kindergarten, and Cornelia Neidhart, chairwoman of the Kleine Strolche in Altomünster. The two mothers were shocked because the market town council had decided in the April meeting after a long discussion with only three votes against (Susanne Luz and Stefan Gailer, both FWG, as well as Susanne Köhler, FDP) an 80 percent increase in parental fees. The administration had proposed an increase of five, ten or 20 percent in the table template.
Second Mayor Hubert Güntner (FWG), however, had brought the increase of 80 percent, which was backed up with figures, into play (we reported). This proposal had already been discussed in advance in the parliamentary groups, but not with the parents' councils, as Kerstin Tetzel explained to the Dachauer Nachrichten. She used to have two children in kindergarten, but from September, when the increase is to come into force, there will be only one child.
For her, this is a simple calculation example: Previously, she had paid 148.20 euros a month for care of five to six hours, now it would be 266.76 euros. Cornelia Neidhart had booked six to seven hours for her daughter, paid 172.80 euros for it so far, from September it would be 311.04 euros. However, you have to deduct 100 euros from all amounts, which the Free State pays monthly for each child. The administration only collects the remaining amount.
However, the parental contributions only cover a small part of the financing of the daycare centers. The main funds come from the Free State and the municipality, whose mandatory tasks include the provision of childcare places. The rising wage and energy costs, the wage increases for 33 employees in the day-care centres and a deficit in the kindergarten sector of around 900,000 euros per year are precarious.
Parents would accept a 20 to 30 percent increase, "but 80 percent is too much," says Cornelia Neidhart. That is why the parents' councils of the four municipal institutions (Altomünster, Wollomoos, Pipinsried and Oberzeitlbach) as well as the BRK kindergarten "Am Brechfeld" want to try everything possible to prevent this increase.
First of all, they sought a conversation with Mayor Michael Reiter (FWG). They give him a lot of credit for taking an hour to present and explain figures to the 20 or so parents in the courtroom. But after 20 minutes, they went round in circles, says Kerstin Tetzel. At the same time, signatures were collected – in the kindergartens and on all kinds of occasions, such as the maypole festivals. A total of 453 signatories would have spoken out against an increase of this kind. The two mothers also consider the response of 128 questionnaires distributed in the day-care centres (currently around 260 children, including pre-school children) to be a success.
In the meantime, a lawyer has also been called in. He, too, had rated the decided increase as "too high". "In the case of 81 percent, one speaks of immorality," said Cornelia Neidhart to the statement of the lawyer. Some parents would now consider reducing the hours of care, eleven percent of those surveyed would possibly even take their children out of the kindergartens and either have the little ones looked after by grandparents or change kindergartens. "Parts of the municipal council are absolutely not child- or family-friendly," says Kerstin Tetzel.
Incidentally, she is not necessarily enthusiastic about the Pipinsried kindergarten. The staff is "great, but we have old furniture, no gym, and a meal offer or longer care times are also not possible".
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Roland Schweiger, spokesman for the CSU parliamentary group, considers the increase to be correct: "Mistakes have been made in the past. The fees should have been adjusted much earlier." Now the wage increases would have a massive impact: the one-off payments this year, the actual wage increase in 2024. But all the renovations that are due or the new groups that are to be set up, such as an integration group and a fourth kindergarten group in the Regenbogen children's home – "that's all for the children and the possibility that everyone will get a place in the children's homes," Schweiger emphasizes.
Marianne Kerle (CSU), who also spoke with the parents' councils, admits that communication did not go optimally. But it must also be said that the fees have always been in the low to medium range.
Susanne Luz has acted very pragmatically: Together with Tina Setzmüller, parents' council member at the Kleine Strolchen, she has written a motion for a socially acceptable increase. This request is expected to be discussed at the meeting on 27 June.