CedarBridge, Saltus Enter Innovative Partnership

August 22, 2013

Computer_education generic[Updated] Two high schools are set to share the resources of one finance department, with Saltus Grammar School to provide services to CedarBridge Academy, which will result in a lower net cost to each school than if both operated independently, the CBA Board said.

The CedarBridge Board of Governors said that in “recent years a contracting economy and shrinking government resources have posed a challenge for educational funding in both the public and private sectors.

“This in turn has put pressure on the budgets of both public and private schools and created the necessity for schools to improve administrative efficiencies, reduce costs, and receive greater value from limited budget dollars.

“To do so without negatively impacting quality of educational instruction and opportunities is no small challenge. However, out of necessity innovation is born.”

The Board said they commenced a public search for a new Financial Controller with advertisements for both qualified individual applicants as well as requests for proposals from firms to do the work on an outsourced basis.

Saltus Grammar School was one of the applicants, and the Board said that “after considered review of all individual applicants and outsource proposals” they selected Saltus as the winning bidder.

The CedarBridge Board said, “This contract allows CedarBridge Academy and Saltus to realise synergies through sharing the resources of an effective and experienced finance department at a lower net cost to each school than if both independently operated similarly experienced and well qualified finance departments.

“In terms of cost efficiencies and sharing of knowledge and experience this partnership is truly a win‐win arrangement for both organisations.

“CedarBridge is excited to be partnering with an organisation that truly understands the unique support requirements of a secondary school and hopes that this initial collaboration in the area of finance will provide a model for realising future synergies and developing other partnerships either administratively or academically between CedarBridge and Saltus or other schools.”

Update Aug 23, 11.02am: Jason Benevides, Deputy Chairman of the CedarBridge Academy Board of Governors, responded to a comment made below. His response follows in full below.

Firstly I must disclose that I am the Deputy Chairman of the CedarBridge Academy Board of Governors. However, I am writing to you in my capacity as an individual citizen and my comments are solely my personal thoughts and should not in any way be considered a statement on behalf of CedarBridge or its Governors.

To the coward who writes under the pen name The Truth will set you free!!! I say you are absolutely entitled to your opinions and to share them as you see fit. However, please accurately distinguish opinion from fact, and where you make accusations please use real facts to back up your allegations. To impugn the ethics and motivation of the CedarBridge Board whilst hiding behind a pen name is nothing less than cowardly. If you truly believe the statements you write, then have the courage of your convictions and let the public know who you are so that they may better assess your credibility.

Please allow me to set you free with the truth. In your comments you allege certain facts listed below to which I offer my response:

1) “Fact: The financial controller that has worked at the school for the past few years has brought the books up to date and has done an excellent job in rebuilding and allocating the school finances.”

  •  I say to you that your statement appears to be mere conjecture. Unless you are privy to private performance appraisals or other like information, then how have you been able to objectively conclude that the controller has performed superbly, abysmally, or somewhere in between? If you do in fact have access to confidential personnel performance information then you engage in a breach of confidence by discussing it in a public forum.

2) “Fact: This innovative initiative does not benefit anyone but Saltus Grammar School as they will now be in charge of the school finances and getting paid to do so.”

  • I ask you to expand upon how you have concluded that no one but Saltus would benefit from the new arrangement. By all means enlighten the public with the basis of your knowledge of this “Fact” so that a well informed public debate may occur. At the moment your “Fact” appears nothing more than conjecture.
  • Further, your statement that Saltus will “be in charge of the school finances” is misleading. Statutorily the Governors of CedarBridge are “in charge” of the school’s finances. That fact does not change no matter whether in house or external administrative support is provided.

3) “Fact: The UBP/OBA chastised the PLP for using what they called the friends and family plan. I would ask the public to investigate where the leading members of this new CBA Board attended school or currently send their children to school. It will come as no surprise that it is not CBA but indeed Saltus.”

  • There’s little in the way of “fact” in that statement, but instead mischievous innuendo. You seem to imply that if a Governor and or his/her children were educated at Saltus, then that would impede his/her ability to act impartially and properly fulfill his/her duties to CedarBridge. Such an implication is scandalous and entirely without foundation. It is unclear to whom you refer by “leading members of this new CBA Board”. However, to the extent that I may be one of the individuals included in that grouping (being the Deputy Chairman of the Board) I am happy to disclose to the public where I and my children were and are educated. For my part, I was educated entirely in the public school systems of Bermuda and Ontario (Canada) from pre-school through the end of secondary school. My young children who have reached school age are presently being educated in the Bermuda public school system. Neither I nor my children have spent a single day in private school from pre-school onward. These are merely bare facts and by themselves really provide no basis for reaching a conclusion on the quality of education received nor the reasons or motivation behind education in one school system or another. In short, your question was answered, but how is the answer really helpful?

4) “Fact: The “CedarBridge Family” is not happy with this initiative but the politically elected CBA board is happy with it as it benefits who?”

  • I’m in no position to conclude whether the “CedarBridge Family” is or is not happy as I don’t know who they are. Would you care to expand on who is a member of that “CedarBridge Family” to whom you refer? If you are their appointed spokesman, then please do share with us your identity.

The CedarBridge Board is not elected but rather appointed. The present Board comprises 6 members originally appointed by the former PLP Minister of Education (Dame Jennifer Smith) – I am one of those appointees – and 4 new members appointed this year by the present OBA Minister of Education (Senator Brangman).

Your closing remarks refer to “…all of the accounting firms that were “approached”…” , then allege a “…politically motivated CBA Board…”, and finally claim that your statements have come “…from someone in the know…”. It is unclear if you are the person allegedly “…in the know…” or rather have been fed misinformation by someone else who claims to be. However, anyone “in the know”, or for that matter anyone who has read the public press statement made by CedarBridge or the associated Bernews article, would be aware that accounting firms were not approached by CedarBridge but rather public advertisements were run to solicit proposals from any party interested in making a proposal to provide services to the school.

If in future you choose to comment publicly please do so honestly and transparently for purposes of constructive discourse.

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  1. PLP: School Contract A ‘Disturbing Development’ | Bernews.com | August 27, 2013
  1. CONCERNED says:

    Berkeley Institute??????

  2. Kim Smith says:

    Brilliant! Hopefully this will work and become a model to be replicated in other places.

  3. Sers says:

    Fantastic idea. This is what the island needs. Good job!!!!!!!

  4. Rhonda Neil says:


  5. Kim Smith says:

    @Rhonda Neil Any particular reason you are sydh… sounds like you have something to say???

  6. Oberon says:

    So will we see some shared pupil initiatives?

    No I didn’t think so, the Saltus parents wouldn’t like that!!

    • Positive vibrations says:

      As a Saltus parent I would have to say that I would welcome shared pupil initiatives. However, you always have to contend with parents who demonstrate negativity by comments such as yours. Programs like Bermuda Glee are a great example of bringing together children from all walks of life to harmoniously reach a common goal. Maybe you could help by getting involved and reaching out to both schools to share some of your ideas and get program off the ground.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      There are already lots of shared pupil initiatives, where public and private schools co-participate. They benefit everyone involved.

    • Steve says:

      Happens all the time, just thought I’d let you know :)

  7. Keep it real! says:

    The Saltus school is not offering a service out of compassion. It is business. They will be the bean counters for the largest government school. thats all. It does not translate into increase academic standards or quality of education for black students who cant afford to go to Saltus. This does not speak to the legacy of racism that still besmirches the reputation of private institutions like Saltus. Its all about them getting a business opportunity. Cedarbridge still needs to do the hardwork of turning underachievement in public schools around. That will require a shift in home values. Just having Saltus count your beans does not mean anything else. The public schools have little control when it ultimately comes to shifting the public school academic record, it has everything to do with the subculture that is shaped by television and history.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      Well, since it’s just ‘bean-counting’, in your view, it might as well be done at the lowest possible cost. Beause that way more resources can be spent on actually teaching children.

      • Keep it real! says:

        You white people know how to defend each other to protect your financial interest. saltus had no interest in cedarbridge other than to make money off of them. the fools bought the idea because the white governement that looks black told them to do so! Imagine, do you really think that mr.brangman is running anything close to a mega ministry like education….? Just like craig who just got that white guy to work in cabinet, shawn (who just gave gravy to mello jones and martin) and has Dodwell running toursim authority and the list goes on. It is the same old UBP with new black faces. They have seen fit to give the contract to Saltus.

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          “You white people”. Really, the race card? Are all your other arguments so weak?

          In the meantime admin costs have been reduced leaving more resources to teach kids. Black kids.

          • Keep it real! says:

            sandy…that gives more money to teach white kids at saltus you mean?

    • Thunder Man says:

      @ keep it real

      Nor does it allow increased academic standards or quality of education for white students who cant afford to go Saltus. I know this may seem hard to believe, but, just because I’m white does not mean I can afford Saltus nor does it mean I am born with a 7 figure bank account.
      Saltus is more interested in your $$$ than your colour nowadays.

      • Keep it real! says:

        IF you are white and poor it is not any black persons fault…you had a good chance to make it…nobody ever pulled your mortgage!

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          Nobody ever pulled the mortgage of a white person? What absolute frikkin sh1t you talk.

          • Keep it real! says:

            clearly you don’t know the history of racism in bermuda!

  8. LaVerne Furbert says:

    I’ve heard it all after this. Why doesn’t the Anthony Francis, CedarBridge’s Board Chairman, agree to close CedarBridge down and send all of the students to Saltus, or better still, combine the campuses and let Saltus’ new principal run both schools.

    • Outsidetheboxthinking says:

      Well done Saltus and Bermuda for thinking creatively. I can see costs being reduced even more if they can get finance students from both campuses to work part-time while the students also gain actual work experience.

      Then they can start another initiative with the IT department, by utilizing the best of brains from both campuses to provide service, maintenance and cutting edge leading technology to Cedarbridge and Saltus.

    • Truth is killin' me... says:

      That sounds like a brilliant idea LaVerne…I’ll mention it at the next PTA…thank you Ms. Furbert.

    • Family Man says:

      I wonder how many scholarships the BIU will fund for the children of their members. How many millions does the BIU collect in dues each year? (I’d like to look it up myself but the BIU hasn’t filed financial statements for quite some time). Maybe Laverne can let us know.

    • Steve says:

      Hardly feasible, honestly! They’ve outsourced their finance work to another Bermudian company to save money. Creative thinking!

    • Thunder Man says:

      great idea, well done, you finally have an idea worth talking about

    • jt says:

      Actually Laverne that’s not a bad idea. No more taxes for education – privatise schools and let students compete to get in to the school of their choice. Let the schools comptete for the students and the money. Sounds like a good idea for alot of other areas of areas like public transportation, trash collection etc. Good thinking!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      My word Laverne!!!! What have you been eating? Excellent idea. A step in the direction of privatising Government schools. Imagine the cost savings & increased education standards if they get privatised.

      There you go Laverne. Something for you to campaigne towards. Call up your sock puppet on the hill today.

  9. frank says:

    Laverne you at some point in your life need to stop being so negative treat yourself to a nice trip to a deserted island and find yourself

  10. Rhonda Neil says:

    this is privatization…. a legal loophole that funnels taxpayer funds to the private sector…..

    Does anyone think will every happen..from sharing an Accountant Firm..

    “CedarBridge is excited to be partnering with an organisation that truly understands the unique support requirements of a secondary school and hopes that this initial collaboration in the area of finance will provide a model for realising future synergies and developing other partnerships either administratively or academically between CedarBridge and Saltus or other schools.”

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      Rhonda, reducing unnecessary costs on backroom admin means there are more resources for actually teaching children. It ain’t that hard to understand.

    • Steve says:

      ‘a legal loophole that funnels taxpayer funds to the private sector’

      It went to tender. Don’t you think a school finance department such as Saltus’ has better knowledge and understanding of school finances than an accountancy firm?

      Great idea!

    • jt says:

      Rhonda – you mean the dollars of the taxpayers that attend Saltus…and the other private schools?

  11. Bullseye says:

    Hey Rhonda. Saltus is not a business. It is not a profit making organisation. It also costs less per child to put a kid through Saltus than it does the average public school child who all taxpayers pay for. Wake up! This is worth looking at.

  12. The Truth will set you free!!! says:

    The tittle of this article is totally misleading…… I am disgusted that it has come to this as facts not propaganda need to be brought to light,
    Fact: The financial controller that has worked at the school for the past few years has brought the books up to date and has done an excellent job in rebuilding and allocating the schools finances.

    Fact: This innovative initiative does not benefit anyone but Saltus Grammar School as they will now be in charge of the school finances and getting paid to do so.

    Fact: The UBP/OBA chastised the PLP for using what they called the friends and family plan. I would ask the public to investigate where the leading members of this new CBA Board attended school or currently send their children to school. It will come as no surprise that it is not CBA but indeed Saltus.

    Fact: The “ CedarBridge Family “ is not happy with this initiative but the politically elected CBA board is happy with it as it benefits who?
    Out of all the accounting firms that were “approached” the best option was a private schools accounts department…… I find that hard to believe and call this politically motivated CBA Board’s ethics into question.
    This coming from someone in the know…….

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      Fact. Admin costs will be reduced.

      Fact. This is a good thing for the school and its students.

    • Steve says:

      Yea right, it’s a conspiracy. Saving money and sharing resources is a conspiracy.

      Would you rather they gave the contract to an accountancy firm on the prerequisite that they can’t have any Saltus alumni working for them???

  13. Time Shall Tell says:

    Thee’s never something for nothing, there will always be end goals that aren’t readily visible.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      Yes, like the longer term benefits of having reduced the high costs of backroom admin functions.

      • Time Shall Tell says:

        that’s what lays in plain sight, it’s the hidden to ponder.

  14. Let me get this right... says:

    Cedarbridge advertised for a Financial Controller, I assume via a normal HR recruitment process and ended up with Saltus as their employee. That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard!! I’d be really interested to hear details on the ‘alleged’ expected cost savings from this initiative. Sorry all but this definitely has Friends and Family written all over it. Privatization at its best… Wow!

    • Steve says:

      ‘Friends and Family written all over it.’ wtf are you on about?

  15. Come On Man says:

    This is not a good thing. Parents need to protest.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      Yeah right. Less money will be spent on admin, leaving more resources available to actually teach students. Oh yeah, the parents should be up in arms about this.

    • Steve says:

      on what grounds? A pissed off because the school is saving money protest?

    • Thunder Man says:

      I agree, what are they trying to teach our kids??? Financial Responsibility or something???

      Time to protest!!!!!!

  16. Job creation??? says:

    How many jobs will be lost at Cedrarbridge as a result of this initiative? I’m thinking they must have had a fully staffed finance department after all these years.

    • Steve says:

      And no money to pay them. Keep the finance department and lose a few teachers, is that the solution?

    • jonny says:

      get rid of one and hire 2…does that make sense

  17. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Why doesn’t CedarBridge also let the new principal of Saltus take over? Certainly the could save money if there was only one principal of the two schools. Maybe Berkeley can follow suit and get a partnership going with Mount St. Agnes.

    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      You’ve never actually run an actual business have you LaVerne?

      • Gypsy Mama says:

        No, just her mouth.

        She is a dinosaur, struggling to survive in an age of innovation and forward-thinking.

        Saltus Alumnus, class of 2003

  18. Just thinking. . . says:

    Do not close CedarBridge. Use both campuses and have certain classes assigned at different campuses and certain years assigned at different campuses. There will only need to be one principal with two assigned vice principals, one for Saltus and the other for CedarBridge. The vice-principal jobs lost at CedarBridge or Saltus can be used at the Ministry.

  19. Give it a rest says:

    Seriously, what are you on about? I bet you’d be surprised what schools the CBA board members have their kids in. And does it even matter?

    This is one of the most creative ideas Bermuda has seen to save money. My hat’s off to Saltus for thinking outside the box and kudos to CBA for having the guts to make what was certainly a difficult decision but clearly in the school’s best interest. Bravo!

  20. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Maybe Mr. Benevides can answer the following questions for me:

    1. If the Board of Governors of Saltus can find a “Financial Controller” for their school, why can’t CedarBridge Academy?
    2. Where are the records to be kept.
    3. Who will oversee the Financial Controller of Saltus?
    4. How will we know that the Saltus’ Financial Controller will not use public funds to fund programmes at Saltus?
    5. Why was the Board of CedarBridge seeking to hire “a firm or individual to serve as Financial Controller”? Did they know beforehand about this arrangement?
    6. Was the former Financial Controller dismissed, and why?
    7. How many applicants were there for the position? How many of those applicants had the “minimum qualifications and skill?
    8. Was there a vote taken by the CedarBridge Board of Governors? If so, was the vote unamimous?
    9. What relationship does Expertise have with Saltus? Why was Expertise used in the first place and not the usual advertisement for a member of staff?
    10. Does the Board think it would be financially beneficial if the two schools shared the same principal?
    11. Why is he resonding to these queries and not the Chairman of the Board?
    12. Why would the Facilities Manager, Mr. Stuart Crockwell be involved in the process and not the principal?

    Those are just a few questions I have for now.

    • jt says:

      Sounds like you should volunteer to be on the CBA board Ms. Furbert.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      You can’t stand the fact that this was a good idea, and that it benefits Cedarbridge, can you LaVerne. You’d rather d!ck around demanding answers to stupid inane questions about where the records will be kept, than admit that this is a good idea. That’s why we voted against you LaVerne.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        So sad. No life. A tree the size of a redwood firmly growing on her shoulder.

      • Keep it real! says:

        sandy you are fighting hard to defend the racist machine!

  21. Eyeinthesky says:

    Really…… The Deputy’s response is as vague as the “HEADLINE”! Set the recorded straight, is it “business” meaning that Saltus Finance Department is contracted to run Cedarbridge Academy’s account department under the BOG watch, or as some people believe here in this blog that added into the contract is an education component structured ready to implement or being developed to be shared between the two schools.

    Really…… In this day and age do you think it is wise to put your real name to a blog, especially if your connected to the situation. If the person is at CBA THEY WOULD BE GONE! Out spoken staff at KFC was not rewarded with a gift were they.

    Really….. You just don’t get it, CBA FAMILY…… If you have to ask, you not one off them….. Lose the stiff neck and embrace the hard workers at CBA!

    Really…… You just don’t get it. Like some people have said, and it’s nothing against Saltus Accounts department, it just that there is a stigma of one private school contracted to run a department in another school. Good way to demoralize the staff and student body. Schools have a rich tradition of self worth, you could not get Berkeley to buy into this. CBA needs its own identity. With the employment situation in Bermuda, there must be a candidate out there to get the job done.

    Really…… You can’t give out too much information as a board member, so why write and leave counter-responses with open ended statements. Only clarify you didn’t go to Saltus was weighted the most, but this you didn’t have to confirm. But it does show that someone did attend their entire high school years there or their 6th year at the school. I’m sure this was a group decision?

    Lastly…… Again you can’t say … But how much did you save and next time put a Bermudian to work.