Starnberg: Small children, big worries – Starnberg

The obvious shortage of skilled childcare workers poses massive problems for the communities of the Starnberg district. At a crisis meeting, the mayor’s spokesman and Pöckinger town hall chief, Rainer Schnitzler, and his colleague in Feldafinger, Bernhard Sontheim, tried to find a solution together with district administrator Stefan Frey. The conclusion is: as long as the market for nursing staff is emptied, all efforts will be in vain. Solutions are only possible in the long run.

Example Feldafing: There are several positions available. Based on the fact that 18 children could not get a place in the coming kindergarten year if the places are vacant, parent councilor Katrin Eckhold proposed at the most recent town hall meeting to pay a higher salary. The parents could bear the extra cost, she offered. In practice, this will equate to an increase in kindergarten fees. Otherwise, the community would run into a large deficit, as is already the case in the neighboring community of Pöcking. There, the municipal council rejected the proposed fee regulation on the grounds that the increase would come at an inappropriate time due to the current price increases.

The Pöckings had also been looking for a new employee for the municipal kindergarten. Although they even promised a cheap apartment, no one responded to the job ad for several months. Then they were finally lucky – and were able to fill the vacancy with a teacher from the region who did not even take advantage of the housing offer. But community leader Sven Neumann is aware that it will only move the problem. Pöcking could only fill the vacancy at the expense of the municipality where the new teacher had resigned.

In Pöcking, they also try to generate new blood themselves, for example by continuously offering internships. But interested career changers would have a hard time, Schnitzler says. The mayor’s spokesman is aware of the case of a child psychologist who was interested in an educator position. However, her education was not recognized. “Big politics simply speaks for itself. It creates a legal right and new standards, but the framework conditions are not provided,” the town hall chief says angrily.

According to Schnitzler, more than 50 percent of care positions must be staffed with specialists, according to government guidelines. “If two professionals resign or one becomes pregnant, we can no longer meet the staff key.” Then all funding will be removed. As he calculates, it would remove a monthly grant of 40,000 euros for e.g. the municipal kindergarten. In his opinion, the recognition of foreign professional qualifications could be a solution or a shortened education. “But drilling thick boards can take a very long time,” Schnitzler is convinced.

District Administrator Stefan Frey wants to interpret the legal requirements generously in light of the lack of staff in day care institutions. Eventually, more career changers would have to be recognized as educators.

(Photo: Georgine Treybal)

District Administrator Stefan Frey has promised his support, he again wants to make the Ministry of Social Affairs aware of the special situation in the metropolitan area around Munich. In his opinion, the staff relationship should be changed and new professional groups should be recognized in the specifications for career changers. So far, of course, one has to settle for temporary solutions, says Frey. Therefore, his authority tries to interpret the guidelines generously “within the framework of what is possible”. “My wish is a low-threshold offer. In controversial cases, I am happy to help in the decision-making process,” he promises. In order for the shortage of skilled labor to be exacerbated by the children of Ukraine, who need special attention, he could well imagine that “the mummy or the neighbor who speaks Ukrainian” would be used as an alternate.

Sontheim is also convinced that the problem can only be solved in the long run. His positive balance after the conversation with the district administrator is that Feldafing will not be left alone. He is in close contact with BRK, the provider of the kindergarten, and is convinced that at least the position as leader can be filled. “BRK is extremely active,” emphasizes Sontheim.

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