Schmied shamed by spending spree revelation

Social Democratic (SPÖ) Education Minister Claudia Schmied is in hot water for splashing out more than 350,000 Euros on ads in a Viennese tabloid in less than two years.A parliamentary request by Freedom Party (FPÖ) MP Walter Rosenkranz forced the education ministry to announce that it had spent 365,271.56 Euros on “information campaigns” in free city newspaper Heute since October 2008.Rosenkranz made the request to find out whether the minister’s advertisement policy was economical and appropriate.”I don’t see adequate information content (in all of the 15 ads),” he said today (Fri).Rosenkranz accused Schmied – a former banker – of being “too active” in that regard.Several quality newspapers that have their headquarters outside Vienna have previously criticised the minister for apparently preferring Heute and Österreich, its major tabloid rival in Vienna.Schmied has been engaged in trying radically to reform the Austrian school system. The minister’s vision is a unified secondary modern type of school for kids aged 10 to 14 instead of the existing two-way scheme of the Hauptschule and the Unterstufengymnasium. Influential People’s Party (ÖVP) officials have harshly criticised her plans, while Schmied also does not have the unconditional support of her own party.Meanwhile, the Viennese branch of the SPÖ has been attacked by political rivals for allegedly spending a multi-million Euro amount on ads in Heute, Österreich and especially right-wing market-leader Kronen Zeitung over the past few years.Young mothers have criticised the party – which has an absolute majority in the city parliament – in that regard in reader letters, stressing that it would have been better to have improved day-care facilities and raised subsidies for young families with the money instead.