New and more redistributive criteria for municipal nursery school fees

The new system for social rates to be applied to nursery school fees as from the 2017-2018 school year is more flexible, universal and redistributive than the existing system and sets out scaled means-tested monthly fees. The fixed monthly fee thus disappears, with prices adapting to the financial capacity of each family.

Calculations show 62.5% of families will come out paying less. The new model replaces the old system, with its fixed monthly fee of 289 euros for all families and discounts applicable in certain cases. The old model meant families with below average incomes spent 11.9% of their income on nursery schooling. The new rates should see that figure drop to 7.4% of income on average.

“The implementation of the new rates is a big leap forward in the definition of a fair and egalitarian nursery school system in Barcelona, a progressive and proportional system”, noted the Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Laia Ortiz. “We’re working to help people exercise their right to a better system. In that respect, we’re shifting from a model which awards grants to a system of fair prices for everyone”, she added.

The progressive scale is the key to the new system. In the case of a family of four, the lowest price band corresponds to income equal to or below 16,732,23 euros per annum, the monthly fee being set at 50 euros. The highest price band is for families with annual incomes of 75,000 euros or more, the monthly rate coming out at 395 euros. Between these two extremes, there are eight other scaled price bands which represent differences in monthly fees of between 35 and 40 euros between each one.

According to calculations, some 25% of families will be paying the minimum monthly fee of 50 euros. “If circumstances mean families can’t afford the minimum fee, social services will continue to take responsibility, as they have done until now”, explained Miquel Essomba, Commissioner for Education. Essomba also confirmed that discounts will still be available for large families, single-parent families or families with a member with disabilities.

In contrast to the previous system, subsidies do not need to be applied for, as the adjudicated fee already takes into account family income. In the case of families with more than one child at nursery school, the price band below the one applicable will be used. The income of any grandparents or relatives living in the family home will not be counted as part of the available family income.

Families can calculate the estimated cost of fees payable using the online fee simulator,  now available on the nursery schools website