A legal maneuver by the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso will allow subsidized private schools that segregate by sex to continue receiving public money until 2027 in the Community of Madrid, despite the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court that guarantees that the centers that differentiate boys from girls do not are financed by the Administration. The regional government (PP) approved in 2021 a decree that extended from six to ten years the concerts already in force in any type of center (both differentiated and mixed education) in order to neutralize Lomloe, the new law, before its entry into force education promoted by the central government (PSOE and Podemos).
This decision now allows 11 schools that segregate students to receive around 36 million euros per year from now until the 2026-2027 academic year, increasing the bill of 500 million received from the 2011-2012 academic year, according to official data. Without Ayuso’s decree, these concerts would have ended at the end of the current 2022-2023 academic year, a government spokesman specifies, so the schools that segregate would not have been able to renew their public financing. An income cut that is delayed for at least three courses, since the Constitutional ruling does not suspend the current concerts, but rather prevents them from renewing them, according to the high court.
“Ayuso is circumventing an organic education law (Lomloe) with the extension of the concerts and with the misnamed education master law in his war against coeducation and equality between men and women,” says Agustín Moreno, deputy and spokesman for Education of United We Can in the last legislature, which collected from the Government all the data on centers that segregate and receive public financing. Moreno claims: “The Government of Spain must study the juridical and legal measures that prevent financing, with public money, 500 million in twelve years, a pedagogical and social aberration that segregates doubly: by sex and as private centers.”
“The longer duration of the concerts in Madrid is a measure that improves the legal security of the projects and allows a better guarantee of continuity of the legitimate decisions of families in the choice of center for their children”, contrasts Alfonso Aguiló, president of the Spanish Confederation of Teaching Centers (CECE).
“The sentences are complied with, as is natural,” he opines about the decision of the Constitutional Court. “I don’t like to make assessments of court rulings, but the change in doctrine that has occurred in so few years is striking, which is not very favorable to the legal security of our country,” he adds. And regarding the possibility that the concerted parties that segregate would not have been able to renew their concert without Ayuso’s decree, he states: “It is a complex legal issue that is not easy to answer.”
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After the Constitutional decision in which it endorses the celáa lawand the article that prevents public funds from financing centers that segregate, the subsidized schools would have the possibility of appealing the sentence in the Strasbourg Court to try not to lose the concert.
In November 2022, the regional government sent the Assembly a list with the cost of financing schools that segregate for the 2022-2023 academic year. It included 17 centers and 51 million total spending. However, a government spokesman assures that this information was outdated because up to six centers notified Education when the course had already begun that they had abandoned this practice, and that in reality only 11 apply this course (for 36.2 of spending), all of a markedly religious character, and several of them linked to Opus Dei.
“The educational concerts are valid until the 2026-2027 academic year included, so until the end of that course (the Constitutional decision) could not affect them,” details a spokesperson for the Community of Madrid. “The financing remains the same until the end of the 26-27 academic year ″, he emphasizes. “(Without the decree) the concerts would have ended at the end of this course. (The decree) allows concerted, differentiated and non-differentiated education centers to maintain the agreement, up to the 26-27 academic year included”.
December 2020. Ayuso speaks: “We have decided that to give greater security to families who opt for concerted education we are going to extend these concerts up to 10 years.” The announcement comes when the Lomloe is only pending its processing in the Senate and its publication in the Official State Gazette to enter into force. So the Government of Madrid is in a hurry. And it speeds up: process the decree, which affects all subsidized private companies, segregated or not, by emergency means. A decision that deserves the reproach of the regional legal advisory (“in the opinion of this Commission the declaration of urgency is not sufficiently justified”) but that the subsequent calendar reveals as essential.
The regional decree is published on January 13, 2021 in the regional bulletin. Lomloe goes into effect just six days later, on January 19.
“In order to provide certainty and predictability in the regulation of the legal regime of educational agreements to the owners of the centers and to the families that have chosen to enroll their children in subsidized centers in the Community of Madrid, it is considered opportune to extend the validity of the educational concerts at 10 years of age that comprise basic education”, it is argued in the regional text.
This decisive action by the regional government in favor of the subsidized school summarizes a policy designed to confront the Government of Spain. Examples abound. Thus, in November it was learned that the City Council of the capital and the Government of the Community, both governed by the PP, had decided to transfer two plots of land valued at more than 11 million euros at zero cost to build two private subsidized schools that the concessionaires They will operate for at least 40 years, as the concession may go up to 75.
The regional Executive had not completed a concession of this type since 2013, when it launched the Pasteur Arroyomolinos school for the 2013-2014 academic year. In 2018, they detail in the Ministry of Education, another contract was tendered, but the processing was not completed. Finally, in 2022, the current Executive reactivated a dormant concert (granted but not executed) from 2005 in Villalbilla. It was a warning of what was to come: if the governments of Cristina Cifuentes and Ángel Garrido made an explicit commitment not to create new subsidized private schools, Ayuso has now returned to the policy of former presidents Esperanza Aguirre and Francisco González. A decision that the current Minister of Education, Enrique Ossorio, already warned about in his last interview with EL PAÍS: “If the parents want concerted, there will be more concerted.”
The bet is not innocent. The PP has been working for more than a decade with the thesis that it wins more votes where it installs subsidized private schools, according to one of its Education advisers, Luis Peral, confessed. As a result, Madrid is the Spanish region with the most students in pure private centers (15.8%) and has 29.6% in concerted ones. Adding the two (45.4%), it is only surpassed by the Basque Country (48%).
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