It’s crazy: From his first day in office, Senator for Culture Klaus Lieder has been fighting to raise the bar for cultural education: He strengthens music and youth arts schools, raises money for children’s theater, supports districts so they can offer low threshold culture – and what a Senator does School Astrid- Sabine buses?
In her draft of Berlin’s dual budget 2022/23, she omitted nearly all of the money for this area. On the first reading of his budget on the House Culture Committee, Lederer had to regretfully admit that although he secured half of his funding for co-financing projects, the senator’s share of education, youth and family was not. The left-wing politician said there was still a solution – and gave no impression that he knew how to do it.
Five programs from the education administration pot are set entirely to “0” in the 2022/23 budget. This means that all funds that were available in the past two years for “Theatrical Education Projects”, “Urban Dance Become a Professional”, “Querklang”, “Opera at School” and “Max Artists in Residence at Primary Schools” will be canceled in the future.
Compared to the total budget, the potential for savings is negligible. All six programs have received 323,000 euros so far. However, they cannot survive without aid from the Department of Education. Although, like almost all projects in the independent scene, it is based on the self-exploitation of the actors anyway.
“Querklang,” for example, has enabled experimental composing in school since 2003. In a six-month process, classes of all ages and types of schools work with composers demonstrating them the possibilities of making music collectively. The results will then be presented to the public as part of “Maerzmusik”, the new music festival of the Berliner Festspiele.
Minimum Threatening Offers
One of the projects under threat is the “Opera in Schools” (OSCH). Behind it is the Lichtenberg Children’s Opera House, which was founded in 2010 by Regina Lux Hahn and now works with the State Opera.
Even Intendant Mattias Schulz describes it as the “heart” of his educational work. The Opera House is investing heavily in the project through its sponsors, which has since been expanded to include four children’s opera houses.
Schultz asserts that “every euro is worth its weight in gold and helps in the development of urban society.” “Because it also reaches children from culturally distant families when they approach musical theater through AGs in schools in a very low fashion.”
In the past two years, OSCH has received 28,000 euros from the Department of Education, and the director believes that this amount could also be possible in the new dual budget. “It’s about public recognition as an educational project – which has a signaling effect on areas that help us the most.”
In light of Klaus Lieder’s commitment, it would of course make sense for him to take over all cultural education programs in his direction. However, given the strained budget situation as a result of the pandemic and the Ukraine war, this is currently unlikely.
That is why it is now up to members of the House Education Committee to campaign for threatened programs as part of their budget deliberations. Representatives of the people have the opportunity to set their own priorities and to reallocate funds in the budgets of individual Senate departments. By the way, programs that are now set to 0 are only included in the education budget in the last double budget thanks to parliamentarians.