To help balance the national budget of France, the Lycée has to pay EUR 1 million, which had been set aside, from the tuition fees paid by families, to pay for construction and repair works.
The French Lycée in Vienna is under the direct management of the French government, through the Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Etranger (AEFE), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development.
As a result, the AEFE demanded from the Lycée the payment of EUR 1 million to help balance France’s national budget. This decision was made unilaterally and announced on October 5th 2015 unexpectedly, without prior consultations with the Conseil d’établissement where parents are represented. Other French lycées abroad are affected by a similar measure.
This payment has to be made from the reserve funds for repairs of the Lycée, which have been set aside through the continued increase in the tuition fees, from EUR 3,264 per child in 2005 to EUR 4,800 in 2015, or about 47% increase in ten years.
This financial reserve was meant to pay for essential repair and construction works at the Lycée, such as renovating the Studio Molière, building and equipping new classes, stabilising the front yard because of landslide, and possibly building an additional sports hall. These are projects delayed for a long time by the AEFE and which have become all the more imperative since the French government insists on selling the Palais Clam Gallas and relocating the Institut Francais, at the expense of the Lycée, and despite the strong objections from the French-speaking community in Vienna, including the APE.
This compulsory payment of EUR 1 million demanded by the AEFE is therefore only possible because families had to incur a continued increase in tuition fees over the past years, allegedly to fund construction and repair works at the Lycée, which were never approved by the AEFE.
The APE’s position is very clear: we oppose this payment from the reserve funds of the Lycée, whether now or at a later point. It is also imperative that all the construction and repair works mentioned above be authorized and undertaken as soon as possible; their necessity cannot be called into question.
We urged the AEFE and the Lycée to guarantee a very limited increase in tuitions fees, if any, and to commit themselves not to draw on the reserve funds provisioned by the parents for any other reason than paying for the repair and construction works necessary to the Lycée.
The APE has met the French Embassador without any tangible results, the AEFE having opted not to change her mind.