According to a budget draft for 2010, the City of Reykjavík is planning ISK 100 million (USD 801,000, EUR 543,000) in cutbacks in the city’s kindergartens. The Union of Parents’ Associations, Börnin okkar, demands that the city prioritizes differently.
From an Icelandic playschool. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Fridgeir Torfi Ásgeirsson, who is on the union’s board, told ruv.is that parents have not been given clear answers on how the cutbacks will affect the operations of kindergartens.
The union is certain that such extensive savings measures cannot be undertaken without compromising the welfare of children.
Ragnar Snaer Ragnarsson, chairman of Reykjavík City’s kindergarten council, said parents have been able to follow the ideas that have been presented in this regard but that the situation has changed significantly since the first ideas surfaced.
Ragnarsson said rationalization in kindergartens will not be as extensive as originally proposed. ISK 150 million (USD 1.2 million, EUR 815,000) was contributed from the City Council for that purpose. Therefore rationalization measures will be next to none, he stated.
Ragnarsson added that the planned cutbacks will not affect the children, only items such as cleaning and the summer vacations of employees.
The board of the Association of Kindergarten Teachers has issued a statement encouraging municipalities to prevent cutbacks in playschools and other schools and honor promises that the education of children and teenagers would be spared.
Kindergarten teachers point out that playschools did not profit from the boom years, during which it was difficult to man positions and many playschools were understaffed.
Now, when employees are easy to find, kindergartens are facing cutbacks, in some cases so severe that professionalism is compromised, the association states.