The Ombudsman asks for "special diligence" with applicants for XarxaLlibres with debts due to lack of resources
The Ombudsman of Greuges of the Valencian Community has urged the City of Valencia to "extreme zeal" so that no child is left out of the XarxaLlibres textbook aid program and, especially, to attend "with special diligence" those cases in which the applicants have tax debts due to lack of economic resources.
The Valencian ombudsman makes these recommendations in a letter, dated March 3, addressed to the mayor, Joan Ribó, as a result of the complaint that he opened ex officio after the information about the inclusion of a clause that would prevent access to aid to those families that have tax debts with any administration.
The institution considered that, since the denial of the aid would affect "principally and directly the children and young people, it would be necessary to ponder and evaluate if said clause is timely and necessary, even taking into account the possible introduction of exceptions to qualify the generality of that rule.
The Catalan Ombudsman details that on December 9, he requested clarifications from the City Council of Valencia in order to contrast the journalistic information on this issue and that, after requesting it twice more, he received a response from the session on February 12, 2016.
The municipal corporation then sent as "explanatory documents" the approved bases for the aid for the acquisition of textbooks, the audit report of the General Intervention and the file model to process the program.
The institution has verified that in the regulatory bases of the call for subsidies it is specified that the parents or guardians of the benefited minors must "be up to date in the fulfillment of the state, autonomous community tax obligations and with the Valencia City Council or in front of the Social Security (…), except for students who do not have sufficient resources to purchase books, with certification from the social services of the municipality or SPEs reports ".
On this point, the Catalan Ombudsman points out that "the possible consequences, obvious and unwanted, due to the non-payment of a tax in relation to the decline in quality in school learning, justified the opening of this complaint ex officio".
In fact, he continues, this complaint "would have to allow the realization of an analysis and report on the precise and necessary regulations for the granting of the aid destined to the purchase of books and curricular material of all children and young people".
The Catalan Ombudsman points out that "the administration has to watch over the best interest of the child at all times and that it should not be tolerated that the lack of responsibility or the economic impossibility of parents harms the education of their children precisely because of an exclusionary normative clause set by the administration itself. "
"We believe that it is not appropriate to link a tax debt with the denial of aid that is configured with a direct relationship with the education of children and youth."
He adds that it is evident that the planned aid is classified as subsidies and that, therefore, the regulation of these must be subject to, but nevertheless, it is foreseeable that, despite the exceptionality indicated, refusals of aid may occur.
He also argues that "the global commitment to universal access to education in equal conditions that could involve the Xarxallibres program would entail in successive editions a change in its bases of convocation and even in the legal nature of these aids" .
Here advocates that the Ministry of Education review the legal nature of such aid or provide for the timely exception in the granting of these subsidies, "preventing the minor is directly affected by these measures because tax debts of the representatives may prevent receiving helps that would bring greater benefits to the child ".
For all these reasons, – "knowing and assuming that the City Council of Valencia accepts the aid that the Ministry of Education announces and, therefore, is linked to the program designed by it" -, recommends to the City Council that "it is extremely important to guarantee that every child and young person, in whose name the aforementioned help is requested, receives the corresponding benefit ".
Likewise, it suggests that "he / she attends with special diligence those cases in which a tax or social security debt may be an indicator of insufficient resources to carry out the purchase of books, and does not cause direct exclusion from the program".
Check here more news from Valencia.