Franziska Giffey makes a commitment: School cleanliness should become a managerial affair – school – Berlin


If things are going badly with student performance, digitization and the provision of teachers in Berlin, it should at least be clean. With this declared goal, the newly elected SPD state chairman Franziska Giffey wants to go into the next election campaign: “If I can make a wish, then I will wish that every school has its own cleaning staff again and not just one, but a team” , the Federal Family Minister decided in her application speech to the “dear comrades” at the party convention on the weekend.

Even more: The permanent allocation of the staff to certain schools is to take place by means of the remunicipalisation of the entire school cleaning, because the “services of general interest” then take place “in the hands of the city”, Giffey left no doubt about her will to a complete change of direction and justified this her experiences as Neukölln city councilor for education: The question of school cleanliness was repeatedly brought up by parents, teachers and students, said the former mayor of Neukölln, who was named the SPD’s top candidate on Monday by the board.

In fact, the topic is as virulent as it is popular – and long-lived. Since school cleaning was privatized in the austerity years under Giffey’s party colleague Klaus Wowereit, there has never been much calm, especially since there were always companies that stood out as “bad performers” and kept school dirt in the headlines.

It has been particularly present again since 2018, when the “School in Need” initiative raised supporters from district to district for the return of school cleaning to the public service. In the meantime, a number of district council assemblies and trade unions have given corresponding votes, and Corona has also raised awareness of the issue of cleanliness.

However, school principals and also district representatives, who had got to know the “old system”, warn of the risks, especially of the high sickness rate and the corresponding additional costs, which are to be feared in view of the experience.

The proposal meets with mixed reactions

Since the topic is as controversial as it is multifaceted, the education politicians of the red-red-green coalition wanted to obtain information about the district’s views on the fixed allocation of cleaning staff by means of a request to the education administration.

The recently published responses make it clear that Giffey’s demand is likely to spark some cross-party and cross-district discussion.

This is the short answer from the Education Councilor Heike Schmitt-Schmelz (SPD) in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf to the question of how she evaluates the proposal to hire a permanent cleaner at every school: “Negative”.

Oliver Schworck (SPD) in Tempelhof-Schöneberg finds it “imperative that the establishment of suitable day cleaning staff at all schools must go through a development process lasting several years”, while Spandau’s Education Councilor Helmut Kleebank (SPD) simply declares the establishment of permanent cleaning staff to be “sensible” .

50 sick days per employee in Hamburg

The most massive rejection comes from Steglitz-Zehlendorf, where the education department is subordinate to Education Councilor Frank Mückisch (CDU). The district refers to the exorbitantly high sickness rate in Hamburg’s state company for building cleaning. In fact, the answer to an FDP request in the citizenry shows that the employees of the state company are sick 50 days a year compared to 25 days in the other authorities and state companies.

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However, when asked, the “Schule in Not” initiative pointed out that the state company in Hamburg was a “processing company” to which all cleaning staff were transferred when cleaning was privatized 25 years ago: “There were never any new hires, which is correspondingly high Average age. And motivation and mood are also not representative in such a processing operation. ”Therefore, the figures from Hamburg“ in no way serve as reliable comparative data, ”emphasizes spokesman Philipp Dehne.

In several cities there are initiatives for the remunicipalisation of school cleaning (archive picture).Fabian Strauch / dpa

The green housekeeper and education expert Stefanie Remlinger points out that the remunicipalisation “would indeed be a big change”. A concrete concept for this is not yet available.

Remlinger has therefore requested a report from the main committee that outlines the consequences with regard to costs. For example, she is concerned with the question of how employees would be classified in terms of collective bargaining agreements, who so far have at best received the statutory minimum wage. Remlinger would find a model test right.

Without a model test, it should really not work. This is also how “School in Need” sees it. The initiative has already consulted extensively with representatives of the coalition, reports SPD housekeeper Torsten Hofer.

Several models were discussed: For example, remunicipalisation could be completely tried out in two model districts for two years or in all districts with a share of ten percent each.

The SPD and the Greens want model tests

Hofer reports that he will formulate a corresponding motion for the main committee on Wednesday. It boils down to the fact that the Senate should report by March 24th on the variants and budgetary effects of the remunicipalisation: “What total costs and what additional costs will this result? What are the effects on the allocations to the districts? ”It says.

A remunicipalisation of school cleaning by a state school cleaning company should also be examined, “which may be docked to an existing state company”.

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At least there are nationwide experiences that Berlin can build on, reports Philipp Dehne from “Schule in Not”. Freiburg has increased the proportion of self-cleaning from 40 to 60 percent, and the sick leave rate has fallen from 10.7 to 8.5 days per employee. Incidentally, “good health management” is “more considered today than it was 30 years ago,” Dehne is certain.

Districts expect multi-million dollar increases

Some districts had recently estimated how expensive school cleaning would become if it were added to the public service. According to this, there are “additional costs of over eight million euros per year” for around 350 cleaning staff in Pankow instead of the last 5.2 million euros.

Steglitz-Zehlendorf puts the additional expenditure at “probably 2.8 million euros without sickness and vacation replacement”. Marzahn-Hellersdorf expects a cost increase of around 16 to 20 percent. The state-owned Berliner Immobilien Management GmbH (BIM) points out that – for example at the fire brigade – a cleaner receives 18.77 euros per hour

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