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Minister reacts to continued school overcrowding
Published on September 23, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

According to the minister of education, Akierra Missick, the problem of rejected enrollment in local primary schools is one of missing documentation, not overcrowding. However, this year the education department apologized for lacking room for 100 kindergarten students.

Education Minister Akierra Missick
Now the minister said they have been placed on a waiting list until their documentation deficits are corrected.

“If need be we will bring in container classrooms because that is what is done in the USA,” she said.

However, what are used in the US are mobile homes, which are designed as classrooms and are much larger than a shipping container converted for classroom use.

Missick also spoke about the overcrowding at the Clement Howell High School. The school is home to 1,000 students but originally was designed to hold 350. A new school was planned by the government prior to 2003 but has been ignored since then.

She said that the social disturbances at the high school have resulted from 13-year-old students being in the same school with 17-year-olds. This problem, according to Missick, justifies the separation of younger students and creation of a promised junior high school. It is not clear where the funds for the new school will come from at present. Without the recovery of misappropriated funds and huge fines, the governments of recent years have not been able to achieve a balanced budget.

The civil recovery team has indicated that they do not expect many more recovery windfalls.

Premier Rufus Ewing also addressed the issue in the September 6 House of Assembly session.

“The current situation is unacceptable,” he said.

He went on to admit, that despite the high taxes that are needed to pay down the loans resulting from the 2003-2009 Progressive National Party (PNP) administration, he did not expect to build or modify the existing school buildings in the short term.

Ewing then blamed both the attorney general, who has no responsibility for government finance, and Governor Ric Todd, who was about to demit office.

The basic budget problem this government faces is the huge cost of the hospital mortgage and the cost of the secondary health care provider Interhealth Canada. These obligations are absorbing at least 40% of the government’s income. Ewing was a key player in the creation of these obligations prior to the interim government take over.

Since complaining that he did not have the funding to build a school, Ewing has refused a $15 million grant from the EU because he wants TCIslanders to front inward development investments. However, Ewing’s government has yet to attract any new investments, with the current planned resorts having been facilitated by the interim British government.

The possibility that concerns stemming from the inaction of the current government may deter some approved resorts are now being aired among TCIslanders
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