Heidelberg (dpa / lsw) – The municipalities have warned the state of a collapse in the expansion of day care centers and all-day care in elementary schools in view of the shortage of skilled workers and tight budgets. It is “completely unimaginable” that cities and municipalities will implement the gradual legal entitlement set by the federal government in primary schools from the 2026/2027 school year, said the President of the City Association, Peter Kurz, on Friday at the general meeting of his association in Heidelberg. The federal and state governments would have to make significantly more funds available or lower the standards, demanded the mayor of Mannheim. “We have to talk realistically with the public.”
Kurz resisted the idea that the municipalities would have to explain the shortage to citizens. “The other political levels order and we explain on the spot why it doesn’t work, that’s not a good division of labor.” It is planned that every child who starts school from the 2026/2027 school year will be entitled to a full-time place in the first four school years.
City Day: Performance promises and standards put to the test
Briefly, the country basically called for a review of “performance promises and standards” because of the looming energy and economic crisis and the tight budgets. “We need to talk about that.” The municipalities also reached their limits when it came to expanding the day-care center. He asked the green-black state government to allow openings and experiments here. “With the current standards, we will not be able to meet the quantitative expectations.”
According to studies, there will be a shortage of tens of thousands of educators in the day-care centers from 2025. The municipalities have long been calling for the group size in day-care centers to be increased and for non-pedagogical staff to be included in the staffing ratio. Increasing the class divider is also reported to be an issue. The class divider is the reference value for the number of students from which a class is divided into two classes.
Kretschmann warns of “extremely hard times”
Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann asked the municipalities for their understanding because of the crisis that the country had to concentrate financially on what was “absolutely necessary”. “It makes little sense if some demand more money from others who don’t have any money themselves,” said the Green politician. “There may be extremely hard times for all of us.” There will be material losses in prosperity, the state cannot absorb all the consequences of the Ukraine war. “Citizens have to cope with the increased prices, we have to help those who can’t.” It is important to avoid economic and social disruptions. “The households alone will strain enormously.” Some banks were already assuming a recession.
Complaint for Stuttgart and Co. because of missing solar roofs
Kretschmann said that at the same time you have to deal with the climate crisis and invest here. “We’re all too slow.” He sees a lot of catching up to do with solar systems on house roofs in many municipalities. He has a ranking that shows that there are “dramatic differences” between cities and districts in the south-west in terms of photovoltaic systems per inhabitant. “I was really flattened.” Biberach, for example, is at the top and some large cities are at the bottom. Schwäbisch Hall took first place, followed by Biberach according to the State Ministry, Sigmaringen and the Alb-Donau-Kreis.
Kretschmann went on to say that many municipalities urgently need to rework the expansion of renewable energies. “These are big tasks for you,” he called out to the 200 or so mayors. Stuttgart’s Lord Mayor Frank Nopper (CDU) said on the sidelines of the meeting that they were aware of the problem in the state capital and now wanted to go on the offensive.
FDP parliamentary group leader Hans-Ulrich Rülke criticized Kretschmann: “When it comes to solar expansion, the country should take care of its own failure and not shift the responsibility to the municipalities and citizens.” After eleven years of the green state government, only two percent of the roofs of state-owned buildings have solar systems installed.
«Many peanuts become one big nut»
Before the gas summit this Monday, Kretschmann appealed to the municipalities to bring along ideas for saving energy. “Everyone should think about good suggestions instead of complaining about those who are there,” said the Green politician. Even if you take a shower for just two minutes, you can get clean and save a lot of energy in the process. “Then a lot of peanuts just become one big nut.”
At the summit, Kretschmann hopes to get answers to urgent questions from the head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller. It must be clarified whether the south of Germany is structurally disadvantaged in the event of a gas shortage in autumn and winter. The Prime Minister is also urging that the needs of the economy be taken into account in an emergency. At second glance, there are significantly more systemically important companies than initially thought. In essence, the fact that private households have priority is not shaken. “Of course we can’t let older women freeze in their apartments.” Hospitals and schools would of course have to be heated.
However, Kretschmann warned: “If important branches of industry no longer get gas, this can have an impact on the supply chains in no time at all.” And that could have dramatic consequences for livelihoods. The head of government cited the production of paper as an example. For example, medicines would have to be packed in paper boxes. “Such companies can be highly systemically relevant at second glance.”