Flanders wants Brussels to stop funding after-school community projects

Flanders wants Brussels to stop funding after-school community projects
The Flemish government said a program to fund after-school projects in Brussels must be stopped out of principle, since education falls under the competency of the Dutch-language community. Credit: Google Street View

Brussels authorities must cut special funding provided to schools for community-building projects because the initiative oversteps the boundaries of the Dutch-language community, a Flemish minister said.

The Flemish government agreed with a statement by the regional education minister, Ben Weyts, that the Brussels region's School Contracts should be terminated because education falls outside of the region's competency, Bruzz reports.

"Education is a [language] community competence," a spokesperson for Weyts said, adding that regional Brussels authorities were "venturing" onto their turf.

The contracts were launched in 2019 by a regional urban development agency, perspective.brussels, with the aim of dynamising disadvantaged neighbourhoods by funding schools in the area to develop community-building programs and social projects.

The initiative should also be terminated as a preventative measure, in order to maintain clear boundaries between regional and community competences, the spokesperson added.

"If we allow the region to intervene once in our area of competence, then they can do it more often," they said. "We have to be firm on this, otherwise the line is blurred."

Since its launch last year, a total of ten schools in the Brussels-Capital Region have benefitted from funding under a School Contract, which was originally meant to cover the 2020-2024 period, with a new round of applications set to be opened in 2021.

The Flemish government will submit a request to the Constitutional Court to annul the initiative, Weyts' cabinet confirmed, following a Council of State ruling which found that the initiative was contrary to the rules governing regional and community competencies.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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