BPTSA On Proposed School Consolidations

March 5, 2015

“We are determined to ensure that changes are thoughtfully planned and are based upon sound intentions, appropriate research and reliable data,” the Bermuda Parents Teachers Students Association [BPTSA] said.

Minister of Education Wayne Scott said that the Ministry of Education faces a 5% budget reduction which coupled with a decline in student enrolment “left us little choice but to consider restructuring,” and the Ministry will be hosting a meeting this evening [Mar 5] to solicit feedback from Parent Teachers Associations regarding the proposed public school reorganization.

A BPTSA spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Parents Teachers Students Association [BPTSA] has engaged its island-wide PTA membership regarding the issue of the recently announced school consolidations planned by both the Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance.

“The BPTSA’s core stance is for Parents to no longer sit upon the sidelines of such initiatives as optimal parental involvement is paramount to successfully educating our children. We are further committed to working with Governmental and private partners to this end.

“Hence, when Minister Richards first announced the closing, we contacted the Ministry of Education to better understand the data and other information that was being relied upon to make the school consolidation decisions. We have been advised that no information was readily available.

“There is no disputing the need for the Bermuda Public School system evolving to improve results. Hence, we are intent upon eliminating experimentation and adventurous tinkering with our children’s development.

“Alternatively we are determined to ensure that changes are thoughtfully planned and are based upon sound intentions, appropriate research and reliable data. We otherwise risk a repeat of another generation of our children bearing the brunt of drastic reforms and grandiose pronouncements preceding a failing system.

“Accordingly, the current deadline prohibits the opportunity for us to contribute as we intend. To avail ourselves of the relevant information, give our members the opportunity to review and to meet and deliberate then provide a response to the Government; requires a minimum 60 days. This timeframe is ambitious but we are willing to accommodate a sense of urgency without compromising the greater objective.

“We look forward to the planned consultation, as recently announced by the Minister of Education, before concrete plans are formalized. We encourage all parents and PTAs to attend any public meetings and to provide thoughtful and measured input.

“In the interim, Parents are encouraged to make your concerns known to your PTA representatives; your school Principals or directly to the BPTSA.”

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Comments (14)

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  1. Huh says:

    Sounds very promising. Hopefully, all involved can move forward in a non-egocentic atmosphere of mutual respect via an honest, open dialogue and within a reasonable amount of time have mutually agreeable, workable, cost-effective, sensible, sustainable, solutions for our public education system

    • Mockingjay says:

      Would be better if U.B.P. was Non-egocentric, respectful, honest, open, reasonable, workable, sensible, and all the other Bull S!@# you mentioned.
      I don’t trust them no more then I trust that Bernie Madoff is innocent.

  2. Axelrod says:

    Bermuda currently has 18, yes 18, public primary Schools. In 2010 the lives births in Bermuda fell to the 650 range from the 850 range which had prevailed through the late 90′s early 2000s. Lets assume that is the new normal…only 650 kids born per year in Bermuda. Then, with 650 Children born per year we will only have 7,800 school age children in 12 years. However about 50% of all Bermuda kids go to private school (local and overseas), leaving only about 3,900 to be served by the Public school system. Of the 3,900 only 1,300 of those children will be in primary schools (p1 thru p5) Assuming equal distribution among all 18 primary schools there would be only 72 kids in each primary school!!

    Many Public primary schools only currently have 80 to 90 children, down from several hundred each 25 years ago! The OBA has been terrible at rationalization of spending. Three years on they have no plan to cut spending! They can’t even bring themselves to consolidate the 18 primary schools down to the 10 that we actually need! Some of these schools, such as Prospect and Victor SCott, St Georges Prep and East End, Heron Bay and Port Royal are not even one miles distance from each other!!! We cannot afford 18 near empty primary schools! WE must consolidate them down to 9 (one per parish, racism be damned!).

    OBA came into government talking a good game about spending…..ha ha looks like they have the same disease as the PLP….they love to borrow and spend too! Bermuda can only stay solvent for another 4 to 5 years before it will be effectively bankrupt! By then we will be paying over $300 million per year in debt and liability servicing costs (interest cost, hospital lease liability cost, airport lease liability cost)….and a loaf of bread will cost $18.00.

    Get ready for it!

    • Mockingjay says:

      They have plans for those properties, just like the Post Offices, the one at Harrington Sound is Prime Property.
      Friends and family.

      • Sickofantz says:

        Do you have any evidence of this?

      • Purple Koolaid says:

        @Mockingjay…would you say the Post office at Harrington sound was remotely necessary. Most people have not been inside a Post Office in 5 years. Sorry but email, FedEx , DHL, UPS, Mailboxes and IBC are all more efficient. Truth be told, many more post offices should be closed not just to save money but because they are not needed.

        And if those properties are worth renting because they are on prime real estate, it makes even more sense to dispose of them.

        BTW you are actually going to make a comment about F&F? LOL May I remind you of Berkeley, Bda Emmissions,, TCD (Correia) , Cruise Ship Dock, Faith Based Toursim, Coco Reefs Lease, Whites Island Lease, Distribution of ISP Licences.. Need more example?

    • Sickofantz says:

      Hoe can anyone with any intelligence down vote this post? It is well written, informative and accurate. It is non partisan and sensible. The only person who would down vote it would most probably be a non-performing teacher at a partially emptoy school.

      • johnny says:

        The people who are disliking the post are OBA diehards who do not like anyone talking the truth about their party.

        It will be interesting to see if they close St. Geo. Prep or East End. The same for Port Royal or Heron Bay.
        Depending on which schools close we may see even more students go the private school route.

      • Brian says:

        Could be people who know smaller class sizes allow kids the attention they need.

  3. Xaxa says:

    Axelrod for Premier!

  4. C James says:

    What part of “we have to do cutbacks” do people not get? What part of ‘Bermuda is broke” do people not understand?

    The CS were asked to take a furlough and said no. They didn’t think they should make a sacrifice and obviously think its up to the public to keep them fat and employed.

    So we will have cutbacks – and lots more of them. This has only just started. In a couple of years, you’ll wish things were as good as they are now. Bermuda – brace yourselves for hard times – this is only the beginning.

    • Loquat tree says:

      Hey, Furloughs are/were a very small amount of the cuts needed/announced. The CS has taken huge hits already. True, so have some (and only some) in the private sector and some have paid a higher price, not disputed, but 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

      The Furloughs the CS already took for 1.5 years, meant at least an 8% drop with increased pension deductions and don’t forget increased health insurance etc. etc. on top too. This was on top of no cost of living increases for over 5 years, while inflation has increased each year, effectively reducing spending power further each year. This affects the lower paid CS workers the most. The system was unfair, this is the problem and why people said enough is enough, something has to give. Salary scales are very restricted, you cannot negotiate with your boss for an increase or bonus like the private sector.

      Do not tell us in the CS that we haven’t made sacrifices. We work for you-all of you, don’t forget. Public Service is just that. Cut that and it isn’t just about salaries at all. The workers don’t make the service inefficient in most cases and many areas give incredible value for money that could never be beaten by the private sector.

      Families are hurting, especially for those on the lower salary grades, mortgage payments and rents are falling behind, nursery, camps, and other childcare to allow people to work cannot be afforded. The cancellation of all overtime has also hit hard, often for those least able to afford the losses. Work often still has to get done,(out of hours), but time in lieu means you don’t see the family and have to pay for extra childcare.

      Do not believe the press/political commentators, that no jobs have been lost, hundreds who have left have already not been replaced and others are doing their best to fill their duties to give the public the services they expect, but no more – people have reached breaking point and services will be cut.

      You may not care, you may have a nice financial cushion, mortgage paid off, kids already through education. But be very careful what you wish for here. “There but for the grace of God comes to mind”. What happens when ‘Auntie’ needs meals on wheels or dental services and there is no service for her due to gov’t cutbacks to service levels and charities. Private replacement services will not be likely to cost less, they will cost much more in most cases.

      The forthcoming early retirements, post freezes, firing of all part timers and consultants, even Bermudians, together with non renewals of work permits, will hit you all hard, in one way or another.

  5. Cardine Alice says:

    Not surprised Bermuda is broke. Fee paying schools in Bermuda need between 20-30 primary pupils per class to be viable yet government ones average a 1:10 ratio. With no results. Has anyone costed sending the kids private on the budget they have?