Questions about the merger
Since 2015, the De Basis and Fluvius school boards have been cooperating intensively as DeBasisFluvius, in order to guarantee a future-proof school organisation consisting of high-quality schools. At that time, legislation did not allow us to merge, but that situation has now changed. Our goal now is thus to formalise the cooperation.
We researched various forms of cooperation. Until now, the boards have been working together in a Staff Union and a Shared Service Centre. Of the various collaborative options that we explored, the administrative merger offered the most opportunities to achieve thorough, non-optional collaboration that would bring advantages for the schools.
Merging the foundations will lead, for example, to the creation of a single integrated policy, and more resources will be available for education thanks to synergy and efficiency benefits. There will also be more opportunities for the staff as part of a larger organisation.
Research has shown that this will not be the case. What’s more, the two foundations are already cooperating so intensively that the formal merger will have few consequences in practice.
The merger will have no effect on the freedom of choice of parents and pupils in the region. Freedom of choice means that pupils and their parents are able to choose the form of education that best fits their personal beliefs, views on education, and capacities and ambitions. Parents and pupils will continue to have freedom of choice after this administrative merger.
This administrative merger will not have any consequences for the number and distribution of the schools. The educational offering will stay the same, as well as the locations where education is provided and the denominations of the schools. The merger will not change anything in this respect.
The board is keen to ensure that at the very least, the involvement of the schools’ staff and parents remains the same. School leaders form a key link in the communication with pupils, parents and the team, and this will remain the case. In addition, nothing will change compared to the present situation; we are already working together.
When it comes to education and quality, the key focus is on the schools. The merger will bring no or few changes to this, because the merger is being held at the administrative level. After the merger, the schools will continue to exist and retain their autonomy to determine educational concepts and methods within the foundation’s frameworks.
All staff at De Basis and Fluvius who are appointed by and paid with resources intended for these schools, based on the collective agreement (CAO) for primary education, will be transferred directly to the new foundation. The period of service and employment record will be taken over by the merging partners. The foundation will become the employer of these staff members. All of the rights and obligations that have been acquired will be transferred directly and continue to apply. Thus, no changes will be made in this respect.
All staff members will be subject to a detailed review, to establish which individual agreements have been made with staff members. These will be recorded as the staff are transferred to the new organisation.
Many staff deliberately choose or have chosen a specific identity in private or public education, and we will continue to respect this.
No; the joint participation councils have already been cooperating since 2016, and there has been a single joint participation council since 01-08-2018. Thus, there will be no changes in this respect.
The merger will come into effect on 01-03-2020.
The government’s merger test (fusietoets) was recently in the news. What does that mean for this merger?
In 2018, Minister Arie Slob (Education) proposed a bill to abolish the merger test for primary and secondary education. This will come into effect on 1-1-2020. The merger test threatens the maintenance of diversity, accessibility and quality in schools. In recent years, the number of pupils has fallen sharply in various regions. An administrative merger can prevent schools from becoming too small and failing, leading to a loss of diversity and choice for parents.
Because the merger test is extremely complex, however, it entails a great deal of administrative red tape, and as it often takes a long time for boards to know where they stand, many are now abandoning ‘rescue’ mergers such as these.
In the run-up to the legislative amendment, a lighter procedural test for primary and secondary education was introduced on 1 August 2018. We are working on the assumption that we will pass this light procedural test.
In the meantime, on 10 September 2019, the Dutch Lower House approved the bill to abolish the merger test. The preparatory research by the Upper House’s committee on Education, Culture and Science will take place on 15 October 2019.
As a consequence of a possible administrative merger, there will be no change to the range and accessibility of provision and facilities. The intended merger by the two school boards will have no effect on the distribution and size of the number of schools in a broad sense. This includes educational locations, buildings, administrative support, the helpdesk, ICT, library facilities and support for children with special needs.
By establishing a cooperative board, we will create a foundation with public and private schools. The new foundation will focus on maintaining a diverse range of public and private schools. The administrative merger is not intended to result in the merging of schools. The differences between the schools will emphatically be maintained, and there will be no consequences for the variety of the education on offer. By contrast, thanks to the merger, we will be able to keep providing a broad and accessible range of education. Schools will continue to have the space to make choices in relation to their own educational offering, and thereby the diversity of education.
We will use this page to answer frequently-asked questions about the merger. The page will be updated during the merger period, should additional questions arise.
Do you have a question that is not covered? If so, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until March, we will be sending stakeholders regular updates on our progress.