Geneva’s administrative court recently confirmed the government’s decision to refuse school places to children living in France.
The court confirmed the legal validity of a ruling on the issue by the canton’s State Council, the government’s executive. Some opposed to the State Council’s position had taken the issue to court arguing that it was at odds with Geneva’s constitution and EU rules on free movement of people.
Before the change in 2018 the children of cross-border workers, living in France, and sometimes the neighbouring canton of Vaud, but working in Geneva, were accepted if there was room for them.
In 2018, around 1,900 children from outside the canton were schooled in Geneva. And while many lived in France, 84% of them were Swiss nationals.
The new more restrictive rules allow only those cross-border kids already at school in Geneva, and their siblings, to attend one of the canton’s schools.
The new rules applied from the beginning of the school year starting in 2019.
The court took the view that the ruling does not contravene the constitution, which requires the canton to provide sufficient free schooling.
In addition, the court disagreed with the argument that the EU agreement on the free movement of people requires Geneva to provide free schooling to children living in France.
One of the lawyers involved in the appeal said they would probably take their case to the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court.