The Educational Financing Fund is once again at the center of the debate. After projecting the resources in the 2023 budget, sanctioned on December 29 by the Deliberative Council, the communal government calculated around 235 million pesos of the total for school infrastructure works.
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“Does anyone know the destination that the Municipality intends to give to the 235 million pesos of the Educational Fund in school infrastructure?” Asked the school counselor of the Frente de Todos, Diana Balbín, through a post on social networks. And she added that the Province “already issued extraordinary funds, a file is in process with budgetary involvement for more than 250 million pesos in files from different schools and close to bidding for the work for the De la Canal School.”
For these reasons, he claimed that the tool, which the Nation distributes to the Buenos Aires administration for distribution among the 135 municipalities, “cannot continue to be used as a patch or strategy in electoral years.”
in dialogue with The Echo of Tandilthe school counselor expanded on the details of the proposal and ratified the request for the Municipality to arbitrate the necessary means to generate a “democratic and participatory” environment in which precise data is exposed, priorities and destination are discussed.
On the one hand, he explained that there are extraordinary funds that the Buenos Aires administration revolves around to face the difficulties in terms of school infrastructure that were detected in 2020, after assuming the current administration. They are “reinforcement” items that are available in January with a view to the beginning of the school year for the execution of works or improvements and that are added to the resources available to the School Council, the Compensation Fund.
“There are around 30 million to work during the summer” and prepare the spaces for the start of classes.
On the other, there is the Educational Financing Fund that the Municipality receives, which projects the destination of these amounts according to the needs of the district. For this year, the estimated amount is 760 million pesos, which will enter the municipal coffers “drip” throughout the year.
Thus, it defines items for the support of the PASE program or for the construction of the building that will be shared by the Conservatory of Music and the IPAT, and others “designed for the infrastructure works of the schools.” That item has assigned 235 million pesos.
“We insist on the need to incorporate that million-dollar sum to give it priority criteria and be able to use it in a planned manner,” said the school counselor.
Balbín highlighted that “there are needs in the schools, but we never know how much of that money is executed,” and added that “the Province, unlike the previous management, is now responding by authorizing and financing very large bundles and we have items on time to maintain school facilities.
For this reason, he considered that the Educational Financing Fund has to be one more “tool” and not “the patch for when something is missing”, and he urged planning the investment of that money to avoid shocks.
A query scope
Another of the aspects demanded by the school counselors of the opposition is information on the works in educational establishments that are executed with these resources. “We have a discussion that we have not finished settling because there is no democratic space in which we can share, consult” about the decisions that are made regarding this aspect, although he did point out the instances through the educational institution itself chaired by Fabián Riva or through a request for access to public information. “But we never know what the destination is or how the investment is planned” of those funds.
From his perspective, Balbín invited the municipal authorities to “understand that there are other actors that we know and work for the schools that it would also be important to listen to.”
Likewise, the school counselor recalled that, based on observing the millions that enter through the Educational Financing Fund, a project was presented to the Deliberative Council for the creation of a monitoring commission “to see how these resources are used for infrastructure school, consultations are made and priorities are determined”.
“The problem is not having information and that decisions are not made in democratic and participatory settings that would leave us all alone,” he emphasized.
And he graphed that “since 2013 we have been asking for different instances in which the Municipality can give an account of what it is doing; It is technically a very cumbersome job”, while he warned that “electoral years mobilize the Educational Fund more”.
This generates “discomfort” because they are resources that “arrive every year and we should know what is being done”, which is why he suggested the creation of an area in which priorities can be discussed.
They demand information from the Executive about the destination of the resources for works of the Educational Fund